When it comes to new technology, consumers age 65+ may not be the first to claim the title of Early Adopters. But due to the sheer size of that demographic cohort, when they do climb on board with a trend, it tends to be big news.
A recent WSJ article released survey results showing — for the first time ever — individuals aged 50-64 are watching more streaming TV (Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, etc.) than the following generation, viewers aged 35-49.
Why is this happening now?
I suspect this evolution stems from a combination of motivating forces, some of which I will briefly touch on in a moment. But regardless of how one attributes the change, the result is likely to open new opportunities, seriously shaking up both your media strategy and tactics.
I’d submit the first factor is a simple matter of passing time — allowing older folks to get increasingly comfortable with new technology. Add the fact that more tech-comfy younger individuals are constantly aging into the 65+ universe, plus the ubiquitous pandemic-fueled search for more entertainment options at home (with a lesser cost than cable alone), and the inevitability of this outcome is clearer.
But we must also account for other powerful forces at work here. Netflix has reportedly been actively targeting older viewers as a growth market, as they’ve seen subscriptions from younger-age cohorts slowing. This has been both in terms of their programming and marketing efforts.
Media habits of the 65+ consumer have reached a new nexus — and CTV and digital media can potentially become more aligned.
What does this mean for advertisers?
In the macro sense, it’s yet another way that what was once narrowly viewed as broadcast TV has been evolving into a multichannel range of video opportunities both online and offline. Then, what makes this all the more timely and of real import to ad folk — especially those of us marketing Medicare plans — is that in mid-July Netflix announced a partnership with Microsoft to power their ad-supported plan tier.
The details in terms of targeting opportunities within Netflix are not yet fully clear. That said, Microsoft’s ad network currently includes Bing Search, MSN, Linkedin, Outlook.com … and now Netflix.
At DMW, we typically utilize Microsoft’s ad network as a supplement to our digital media strategy. While there is no question Google reigns supreme in the world of search — Bing is the default search engine for all PC users. Unless someone switches to using Google search, Bing will be the primary search engine our audience uses.
That said, the addition of Netflix foreshadows a potentially significant change. This new alignment offers great potential, bridging the gap between digital and TV — particularly in terms of targeting (and retargeting) consumers across channels. Google has been working on this as well, via YouTube TV. But the Netflix subscriber base is much larger.
For the first time ever — individuals aged 50-64 are watching more streaming TV than viewers aged 35-49.
And what’s next?
Digital media channels, despite being around for nearly two decades, arguably didn’t really catch on for a 65+ audience until about 10 years ago. Younger baby boomers simply needed to age in. TV is currently undergoing a similar evolution. While broadcast TV has long been a favorite of boomers, Connected TV (CTV) has only recently caught their favor.
Now — finally — it appears evolving media habits of the 65+ consumer have reached a new nexus — and CTV and digital media can potentially become more aligned.
I’d urge you to keep your eyes open and your ears to the ground! And if your agency partners aren’t talking to you about what’s around the corner, we’d be happy to chat with you about what this next phase may look like for your business. And how you can stake a claim to your share of these evolving opportunities.