Let’s take stock of the consumption of television in the past year. The data confirm the main trends: the gradual loss of viewers , the aging of the public and the prevalence , among viewers, of those with low education. Since 2010 the prime-time television audience has fallen by -5% , while the population (from four years upwards, like the Auditel panel ) has grown by + 1% , so there is a real drop of less than one percentage point on average every year.
The decline is not as consistent as many suppose, perhaps because they are unhappy with television programming (often the biggest detractors of TV are its main users ). On this front, the prospects are not bad, considering that the competing medium, the web, is often complementary and not an alternative to television itself. The most worrying fact for television is the fact that the younger public decreases with a higher level of education , while the older one and with the lowest educational qualification increase, albeit to a lesser extent. The TV risks being no longer the means of communication for everyone, a prerogative that has made it the strongest medium, but a medium enjoyed especially by the elderlyand less schooled. Let’s see the data. The loss of viewers in the last year has essentially occurred in the 25-54 year target (-5% in 2017 against -3% of the entire television audience).
It is the age group that most interests advertising investors, not surprisingly defined as a commercial target (on which, incidentally, Mediaset constantly beats Rai), as it represents the consumers of the classic mass and brand products. They are the young families, naturally predisposed to the consumption of the goods necessary to “raise the house”. They are at the same time people who see little the classic generalist TV; they can watch it with their children in the early evening (the occasion is good to applaud Rai for having removed the advertisement from RaiYoyo ) and maybe they occupy the sofa late at night to see the most famous series on some pay TV .
If in front of the TV the “rich” consumers diminish, it is obvious that the advertisers “flee” from this means. A “poor” advertisement will remain , the one concerning low-level products. TV in general is likely to enter into a downward spiral: young people flee from television video and television programmers can no longer capture them, at the same time the big advertisers abandon the television screen (reserving only the big events, from Sanremo to the games of football), for which the networks do not remain the only solution, valid for survival, that focus on marginal targets. Inevitably, TV will become increasingly “poor” in content.
TV aging is represented by graphics. Over-55s represent 36% of the population but 51% of the entire television audience. Young people aged 25-34 are 10% of the population but only 5% of the television audience. At the same time, the group of those with primary education represents 19% of the population and 26% of the television audience. The last graph shows that not all televisions are the same. Sky, for example, has a very young audience, while Mediaset seems to represent society better than others. Rai, on the other hand, has an audience composed mainly of the elderly: 65% of the public belongs to the age group above 55 years of age. The probability that a young person (15-24) looks at a Rai program is 3%. A public service that is not used by everyone , which is not the mirror of society, risks losing its nature.