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Teens, Young Adults Tiring of Reality Shows?

30 Apr, 2003 By: Holly J. Wagner


Teenagers may have had their fill of reality programming with one exception – “American Idol” – according to a media company survey.

"Observational" shows such as "The Osbournes" and competitive shows such as "Fear

Factor" appear to be declining in interest based on the previous year's viewing habits,

although they are far from losing their audience completely, according to Bolt Inc, a media company focused on 13- to 24-year-olds. Romance reality TV like"The

Bachelorette" and viewer voter shows like "American Idol" are holding onto their audience share. In fact, "American Idol" remains a major exception with more than 91 percent of young viewers surveyed claiming they plan to view the next season's broadcast.

Young consumers are becoming jaded with reality programming, with 68 percent of those surveyed claiming they are "getting tired with Reality TV shows" and 63 percent saying there isn't much that's "real" in reality TV.

Developers of Reality TV programming can hang their hopes on 37 percent of young

consumers saying they watch more reality shows this year over last and 50 percent saying they expect to watch even more next year.

Bearing out results from a comScore survey last year, 80 percent of young adults said they are commonly online while watching television. The percentage if higher the 47 percent of all age groups comScore found watch TV and surf the net simultaneously.

Reality Television excels at connecting a television show's audience on the Internet and establishing a community -- a virtual water cooler conversation between episodes.

Other key findings of the study include:
  • The favorite Reality TV shows among this audience are

    "The Osbournes" (18 percent), "American Idol" (16 percent), "The Real World" (16 percent) and "Fear Factor" (15 percent)
  • 61 percent of women plan to watch Reality TV shows next season, while only 40 percent of the men surveyed plan to do the same
  • Sitcoms are the dominant programs of choice for teens and young adults, with 72 percent of respondents indicating they watch two or more a week (including those in syndication)

    The study was conducted by Bolt's research group and was weighted to be representative of U.S. teen and young adults based on key Census demographics, a Bolt spokesperson said.


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