Popular On Netflix: Boomers

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Streaming video: 30 million Boomers can’t be wrong

Recent data from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) tells us two-thirds (68%) of 13-34 year olds subscribe to a video streaming service, primarily Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hulu. Yes, many are watching courtesy of their Gen X/Boomer parents’ subscriptions, but it’s still an impressive number.

Sour grapes alert:


Predictably, the Millennial-fixated crowd will overlook the growing importance of the Pig In The Python … the Baby Boom generation.

Streaming video by age group_CEA

The CEA report also shows 35% of 50-64 year olds subscribe to streaming services. Adding Boomers aged 65 to 69, that projects to around 27 million of us. After an estimated 10% growth for Q2 through Q4, it will be 30 million by year end. Far out!

The streaming services leader is Netflix, with 40+ million U.S subscribers and 62.3 million worldwide (HT Fortune/Variety). 

Netflix didn’t get to be the big dog by leaving money on the table. It’s a lesson for any disruptive brand: be Boomer inclusive. We don’t mean feely-touchy PC social outreach, but old-fashioned ruthless greed. Grab the other guy’s market share while he’s asleep.

Unlike thinkers stuck in the 18-49 demographic box, Netflix kept Boomers in focus. Their portfolio includes scads of shows and movies harking back to our heyday. From M*A*S*H to Magnum PI to Star Trek: The Next Generation and Doctor Who, we can settle down to a fun evening of streaming at our own pace.

Frank Underwood

And, defying adland’s odd notion that Americans over 50 cannot adapt – except for learning how to dispose of adult diapers responsibly – some of Netflix’ top series make it clear Boomers are still taking names and kicking butt.

Don’t take our word for it – just ask Frank “House of Cards” Underwood (56), Walter “Breaking Bad” White (59), or Frank “Lilyhammer” Tagliano (65). But remember to ask nicely.

Connections: Boomers become more important to conventional TV

The heavy use of streaming by Millennials means a shift away from conventional television. In fact, Nielsen has been tracking a steady decline over the last four years, accelerating in 2014, to the alarm of network executives and advertisers.

Weekly TV viewing among 18-34 year-olds plunged from 25.5 hours in Q4 2011 to 18.5 hours in Q4 2014 – down by an hour a day.

TV viewership among Millennials

With their understandable focus on Nielsen’s Millennial data, many missed a key implication for Boomers. TV viewership among those 55+ stayed steady, declining only about 2% since 2010.

Despite our apparent lack of appeal to mainstream brands, by default, we now become a more important segment of the television audience.

It’s time for some Frank Underwood style thinking: throw old ideas about Boomers under the bus.

In olden days a glimpse of stocking was thought of as something shocking

Our “30 million Boomers can’t be wrong” theme channels a 1929 Broadway show, 50 Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong, The music was by Cole Porter, famous for inventive lyrics that are still unrivaled today. Except of course for seminal breakthroughs like ooh baby, yo baby, yeah, yeah, baby.

The Roaring Twenties were the golden age of the Flapper. Hemlines were down near the floor at the dawn of the decade but reached – sorry, can’t resist – new heights by 1929.

FlapperIn 1932, Porter commemorated the departure of old thinking with Anything Goes. It’s been a standard ever since; check out a terrific Canadian schoolkid flash mob version. The opening lines tell it all …

“In olden days a glimpse of stocking was thought as something shocking, now, heaven knows, anything goes …” 

Those words should be on every whiteboard in every brand manager’s office in the country as a reminder that olden days thinking in the 50+ space doesn’t work any more.

For starters, we have more buying power than that of Germany.

And, like Germany, we have our own language – Boomer-speak. It’s not something one can learn from streaming That 70s Show reruns, but our expert dialog coaches are ready to help visionaries willing to take a leap of faith.

As Frank Underwood puts it: “It’s so refreshing to work with someone who’ll throw a saddle on a gift horse rather than look it in the mouth”

Opportunity John Wayne

Boomer - neXt SM logo_MMOriginally published as a Boomer-Plus Consulting Group post; in September, 2017, we up-branded as Boomer / neXt to welcome the 4 million Gen Xers who join the Boomers in the 50+ space each year.

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