Is TV Too Youth Orientated | Action Aerials
Is TV Too Youth Orientated?
It is unsurprising that with the development of TV and the types of TV programmes shown on TV nowadays that there have been mixed reactions from different audiences when it comes to what is shown on our screens. More and more programmes and channels nowadays, especially when it comes to Freeview TV seem to be targeted at a younger demographic. Our question is, are the older generations being forgotten about for the sake of boosting viewing figures?
More people watch TV than ever before, especially younger children and young adults who regularly watch their favourite shows in larger groups, or share their TV viewing habits on social media, boosting the viewing figures of certain popular shows that are targeted specifically at younger people. Shows such as Love Island, Geordie Shore as well as The Voice Kids have all been made to target this demographic. Fewer TV shows and channels seem to be devoted solely to boosting the viewing figures of older audiences. A reason for this may be that older people already have favourite TV shows that cover a wider demographic and require little to no advertisement such as soap operas like Emmerdale, Coronation Street etc, as well as Strictly Come Dancing and others.
If we take a look at the current offering of the most popular shows on TV, you can see a trend in both the age of the contestants, characters or celebrities appearing on them, and it certainly points to a shift in favour of the younger groups.
Unlike shows like First Dates and Undateables which are watched by people of all ages, Love Island was designed solely to capture the imagination of young people. The show is based around a group of young strangers who are looking for love, and who are paired with other people in the hopes of finding a solemate. Along the way many trials and tribulations are thrown in the mix to add drama into the show, and cliffhangers are used at the end of each episode as well as a couple being voted off each week. The vote off leads to a lot of young people sharing their reactions on social media, boosting the shows audience even further. The high viewing figures have surely secured Love Island a return for another year at least.
Now a staple of British TV every year, The Apprentice focuses around Sir Alan Sugar, a wealthy billionaire who is looking to find a new apprentice to hire to join his company, securing themselves a multi-million pound contract in the process. In recent years, instead of the older judging panel, newer judges have been added to replace older, retiring judges and the contestants age ranges have reduced drastically.
Now more and more younger people with less experience are appearing on the show, rather than a mixed age group that would have been apparent in series gone by. This begs the question, are the contestants who are younger being favoured over more experienced and proven candidates for the sake of improving the young audience, knowing full well that the older demographic will continue to watch regardless. This change in the age of candidates has seen the standard of excellence of each apprentices drop over the last few years, to a point where in our opinion the show has lost track of its real purpose.
Up until around 2016, the X Factor and other talent shows only allowed contestants who were 16 or 18+ to enter. One of the main reasons for this, especially when it comes to singing is that there is no way of proving if the contestants voice will continue to be as good as they develop into adulthood, and judges thought that giving out negative criticism to younger people would be very hard and cause a lot of upset. In April 2017 this all changed when former X Factor winner Liam Payne, formerly of One Direction campaigned for The X Factor to lower its entry age to 14. This was subsequently approved and changed for the ongoing 2017 season. Questions were asked over whether this was a deliberate scheme by Liam, who worked with Simon Cowell the original creator of the show, to try to bring in younger talent, who tend to bring in more revenue from their brand and music records than older winners.
Older people tend to be given a negative stigma by the show, with many of the judges publically saying that they don't want to coach the Over 45's category. This to us is an indication that the shows producers, the TV channel, and everyone affiliated with the X Factor is quite bias towards manufacturing a younger winner, in the hopes of generating more money from it.
If you look at the winners of the show over the last several years, most of them have been in the younger category or a group as opposed to an over 45, with most over 45s being picked trivially to bring comical influence to the show, with acts such as Wagner in the past being picked over better over 45 contestants even in the shows finals. You just wonder how much the X Factor is fixed to manufacture a winner from the first audience through to the final.
There's Still Hope For The Older Generation
Despite the abundance of kids channels and shows aimed at adolescents, there is still hope for the older generation. New shows in the UK and overseas such as The Voice Senior, being trialled in Belgium, are aimed solely at an older audience. The same can be said for many of ITV's new dramas and documentaries which seem to take a more classical approach and are aimed at more mature scenarios than many other channels.