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17 Curious MTV Demographics

The young adult demographic is desired by many networks, but only MTV is able to consistently dominate in this area. It is the one channel where people in the 12-34 age bracket continually tune in to catch up with what is coming next in pop culture, music, and fashion.

MTV reaches 387 million households around the world and is considered the #1 media brand globally.

In the past, MTV made music videos become a mainstream media format to enjoy music. Today the network provides a variety of programming, ranging from politics to reality TV, and it is all targeted to the young adult demographic. This is what has allowed the network to transcend the media clutter that has developed over the last 30 years.

This is Why MTV Continues to Dominate

  • Young adults consistently name MTV as the most recognized network in the US.
  • 1 in 3 US citizens falls into the 12-34 age demographic, accounting for over 90 million people.
  • The 12-34 age demographic has $250 billion in purchasing power and is 2x more likely to reside in a home that earns $75k or more annually if they watch MTV.
  • 69% of purchasing decisions made by the 12-34 age demographic are based on brand recognition.
  • In the average year, more than 40% of all retail shopping money spent comes from the 12-34 age demographic. This demographic spends more money shopping per person than anyone over the age of 35.
  • 48% of young adults have a say in all family decisions.

For even older adults, if they own a television, then there is a good chance that they are at least familiar with the MTV brand. Many older adults, in fact, grew up watching MTV whether they did so openly or had to sneak in viewing time when their parents weren’t around. Shows like Remote Control have been replaced with The Real World, but this evolution has kept the MTV brand strong and alive within their core demographic. This is also why advertisers who wish to target young adults should consider MTV as a top option.

What Are the Purchasing Preferences of MTV Viewers?

  • On the average year, the MTV demographic is going to spend more than $8 billion on clothing and apparel.
  • Nearly $1 billion is spent annually on video game systems and related products.
  • More than $2 billion is spent every year on fine jewelry, usually gold or diamonds.
  • Another $1 billion is spent every year on audio equipment.
  • More than $5 billion is spent by this demographic on foreign vacations.
  • The largest annual expenditure, however, is on personal computers, tablets, and smartphones so that communication is easier to accomplish.

Why is looking at these spending habits so important? At one point in MTV’s history, they spent 26 consecutive quarters as the top rated basic cable network. Even though other networks have laid claim to that crown from time to time, the branding that MTV has still generates a large amount of loyalty within the 12-34 age demographic. Don’t be fooled by a recent decline in ratings. When MTV finds a way to evolve onto the mobile platforms more consistently, their ratings will very likely come right back.

Nielsen Ratings Don’t Mean Everything

  • MTV has a Facebook fan base of almost 48 million at the start of 2015. This is 4.8x higher than Fox News and 4x higher than ESPN even though these two networks have higher network ratings than MTV.
  • Advertisers are considering alternative audience measurements to reflect the true value of the MTV brand.
  • Ratings for computers and mobile devices are not reflected in Nielsen ratings, which is where many of the 12-34 key demographic consume media content today.
  • Despite these differences, the MTV Music Awards still showed an 18% drop in viewership from 2013 to 2014.

In terms of relevance, MTV has struggled to have a hit since Jersey Shore. That doesn’t mean the network isn’t trying. They just happen to be in a bit of a dry spell from a creative standpoint. With a new emphasis on scripted shows that are likely to appeal to their core demographic, there is a good chance that MTV could rebound in Nielsen ratings and online material consumption. They have a fan base that is 48 million strong, but right now are silent. If that sleeping giant wakes up, those who are involved with this demographic now will likely see the best overall returns.

History of MTV

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