The television generation, aka Baby Boomers, now appears to be among the country's least-satisfied viewers of TV programs and commercials.
Their dissatisfaction surfaced in a just-released "TV Land's New Generation Gap Study," which was conducted by Harris Interactive for the cable franchise that devotes the lion's share of its programming to reruns of shows the Boomers grew up with.
Only 3 percent of the 1,655 Baby Boomers polled in April and May described themselves as "extremely satisfied" with the TV shows available, while about half — 53 percent — claimed they pay little or no attention to commercials they perceive as aimed at young adults. One-third of the Boomers said they'd even be less likely to buy products advertised in such a manner.
"There's a point at which people will say they're mad as hell and not going to take it anymore," said Larry W. Jones, president of TV Land, noting his reference to the 1976 movie "Network."
"[Boomers] are just about to reach that point," Jones forecast. "I'm a Boomer; I can feel it myself."
Current TV shows cited as favorites by those among the 78 million Americans ages 40 to 60 have often been created with a younger viewer in mind, like "CSI," "American Idol" and "Desperate Housewives." It's a phenomenon, Jones said, that has left the medium's ad potential and program appeal less than fully realized with the country's most affluent generation ever. (According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2004 Boomers' household spending totaled $2.3 trillion, dwarfing the $1.5 trillion spent in young adult households and the $900 billion spent in households of the 60-plus cohort.)
"What's missing," said the 45-year-old TV Land president, "are [shows and commercials] that embrace Baby Boomers directly — we know you, we are you, we are for you."
This scenario isn't likely to change anytime soon, predicted Bob Wendover, director of the Center for Generational Studies. "I see it becoming much more pronounced," Wendover said. "Baby Boomers are not adapting to other types of technologies as fast as other generations, but they are checking out the other choices [besides TV]," he continued. "Not to mention the fact their kids are helping them to do so."
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