Nielsen was kind enough to share their US radio listener research in a Tops of 2017: Audio report.
The problem is that the research only extends to people up to the age of 54. Does this mean that older people in the USA don’t listen to radio anymore? They suddenly tuned out on their 54 birthday?
Common sense tells us otherwise. In fact, given their historical connection to this medium and the likelihood that older people have more free time to listen, surely their audience numbers would be substantial. Perhaps radio stations could even add a premium to their rate-card for access to this audience!?
Presumably, Nielsen caps off this audience measurement at the arbitrary age of 54 for partly economic reasons (i.e. research cost). This may have had some relevance 20 years ago when the world was younger, but given the demographic reality of the world we live in, surely this artificial age ceiling is delivering a misleading story about the potential of radio to reach a very lucrative market? It also perpetuates the notion that older consumers don’t matter.
The 50+ are the wealthiest segment of population in most developed countries yet they are often overlooked. Research companies, clients and the media need to recalibrate their intelligence to include this market segment or else risk being blinded to extraordinary business opportunities.