Segmentation more relevant than demographics in effective TV programming

2 min read

Broadcasters have typically used basic demographics to categorise their audience and target their content; however, the reliance on such characteristics fails to appreciate the diverse nature of individual motivation and preference.

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Why demographics are flawed

Segmenting audiences through demographic detail is a typical way of targeting TV programmes and schedules, using criteria such as gender, ethnicity, age and life stage. It relies on stereotypes and assumptions, essentially classifying those sharing characteristics, such as all males between 25 and 30 years of age, as behaving in the same way and sharing similar habits and preferences. In doing so, this approach neglects to appreciate the variation in media consumption, motivation and behaviour within each demographic grouping and the ways in which people are multifaceted and diverse.

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To more comprehensively understand the audience and target content, it is important to delve a little deeper by considering, for example, what motivates individuals to view a certain programme or choose a particular channel.

A working example

A survey of over 1,000 viewers undertaken by Clusters discovered six segments of TV consumer, each based on a thorough real-life analysis. The data included interests, the behaviours of viewers and personal identifiers to give a more colourful, in-depth insight over that gained by demographics alone. This research was also able to identify the impact of technological advancements on viewing habits, whereby the quantity of devices overall was found to be more of a defining feature of TV consumption habits than the quantity of TVs owned by the household. Those classified as ‘device hoppers’, for example, were found to often view TV and utilise other devices for messaging and social media simultaneously, while ‘indifferent onlookers’ relied predominantly on traditional TV.

Why segmentation is important

Business Insider reported findings by Nielsen’s 2016 research, highlighting that overall media usage is increasing while traditional TV consumption is decreasing. TV is still the media vehicle of the masses, and Stroud TV aerial installation providers such as can install and repair Freeview and satellite to keep you connected whatever your viewing habits.

Personalising programming through insights into individual behaviours and motivations can enable broadcasters to adapt their brand image, be more successful at attaining and retaining viewers against the competition, predict future trends, and allocate broadcasting budgets more appropriately.

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