It is a truism in the marketing industry that the 25-49 age group is the one you should be chasing. Not being a marketing guru, I am not quite sure why this is because it seems like older people in general are the ones with more disposable income, while younger people are dealing with the expenses of starting out in life, raising family, etc. Maybe it is because older people are more set in their ways and can’t be easily persuaded to chase after the next new thing or adopt the latest fashion.
Whatever the reason, the fact that the audience of cable news usually has median ages in the 60s (with Fox News at 68) has to be alarming to the executives at these organizations and they have sought to make themselves more appealing to younger audiences. In a comment to a earlier post, raven said that we can see one strategy they have adopted.
The average age of Fox News viewers is far older than the US average and going up rapidly. As predicted, their market share is going down rapidly too.
With present trends, Fox News will be Fox Who? in a few years or decades.
They are well aware of it. Their solution has been to go after younger viewers by hiring youngish, blond women who wear short skirts. It isn’t working. While someone at Fox can count, they don’t know biology very well. The majority of the US population are women and not (mostly) mesmerized by young, blond women in short skirts.
Raven is right that this strategy does not seem to be working. Maybe when it comes to news, younger people would prefer it to be delivered by older people who can more easily convey a sense of knowledge and gravitas and sagacity, rather than by someone who looks like them or even younger who may be perceived to be not as authoritative.
This is not to say that such perceptions are true. But it is my experience as a teacher that students seem to be instinctively more deferential and respectful of older faculty than of younger ones. In fact, during the orientations I run for new faculty, I tell them that that older guys like me carry with us what I call ‘default authority’, where it is taken as a given that we know what we are talking about unless we do something that proves otherwise. But I tell new faculty that there are three risk factors for having one’s authority questioned: being young, female, or a person of color. If they have these risk factors I suggest ways to subtly let it be known to students that they do in fact have great depth of knowledge, just like their older colleagues.