Audience Profiles

Audience Profiles 2

TV is still an integral part of people’s lives only now viewers have a greater gamut of choices than ever before. Contrary to popular opinion, TV viewing is on the up. Developments in the medium have stimulated the appetite for television and provided audiences with more accessible, relevant content as and when they demand it.

Whist TV retains its ability to reach large numbers of people over short periods of time, the explosion of channels has enabled targeting of tighter, smaller groups with specific interests, habits and mind-sets. You can now reach discreet audiences such as early adopters, yummy mummies and boys with toys as easily as you can the traditional demographic buying groups.

Television also allows you to tap into the mood of your viewer. Whether you connect your brand to the excitement of a football match, the seriousness of a documentary or the joviality of a comedy, the choices are vast. TV provides a vehicle for you to engage with the right people at the right time in the right frame of mind. It also provides you with a myriad of innovative ways through which to do it.

In this section you can explore the profiles of different buying audiences. You can learn more about the complex relationship between audiences and programming and the importance of TV in people’s lives.. 

Men 16-34

Young men are traditionally perceived as a difficult bunch to reach through TV, and although they don't spend as much time with their tele as women of the same age, it undoubtedly plays a significant role in their lives.

Young men remain one of the lightest viewing audiences of TV, and also one of the most profitable. Viewing is centred around their interests and daily schedules and as a result, weeknight viewing is high, particularly during late peak. This group are more likely to watch post-pub than any other, where comedies and general entertainment feature highly, suiting the mood perfectly. Sharing of the remote is also less likely (as many young women will no doubt testify) especially at weekend where sports dominate the schedule.

Predictably, sports are one of the main drivers of viewing against this audience. The Sky platform is popular. 80 per cent have access to digital and around 12 per cent subscribe to Sky+ - well above the all-adults average. Sky Sports, Sky Sports News, Channel 4 and Dave rate amongst the preferred channels, revealing their propensity for sports, (Football, Formula 1) comedy, (8 Out of 10 Cats,The Big Bang Theory)  and factual (The News). Watercooler shows also feature heavily on their content radars.


Men ABC1

There are 12.6 million ABC1 men in Britain, accounting for just under a quarter of all adults.

Unsurprisingly, men in this group consume vast quantities of media.

Although this audience is generally time-poor, TV still forms a staple part of their week. Weekend viewing is significantly higher, with 32 per cent of it occurring on Saturdays and Sundays (indicative of their love of sport) and predictably weekday viewing is focused around peak. In addition to sport, men tend to tune into documentaries and news during the week, although water-cooler also draw them in.

Upmarket men love the idea of being able to access a barrage of channels and as a result, are very receptive to digital TV. Conversely, however, they are inclined to believe that a growth in TV stations is diluting the quality of TV. However, they continue to take full advantage of its services, interacting with both programmes and ads alike and paying for content such as a sports and films. As sport provides the crux of their viewing, Sky is the most accessed platform and favourite channels include Sky Sports, Sky Sports News and ITV4.


Men C2DE

This is an exceptionally large and therefore diverse demographic group that includes over eleven million men in the UK. Unlike C2DE women, men in this bracket are more likely to be footloose and fancy free or to continue working after the birth of their children. As a result, their media habits generally remain more constant, irrespective of age.

TV forms an integral part of their lives. Although their TV consumption is generally more content-led (they are less likely to channel hop for the sake of it than women) over half of them are classed as medium to heavy viewers. In fact, they watch more TV during the week than on the weekend although this is still higher than the adult average.

Although sport forms a sizable chunk of their TV viewing and their weekends are dominated by sporting events (particularly football, rugby and F1), they also watch a good range of other genres, including Films, general entertainment, reality and comedy. ITV, five, Discovery and Sky One rank amongst the favourite channels, in addition to the specialist sports stations such as Eurosport and Sky Sports. Their programming tastes are varied. Perhaps surprisingly, a quarter of this group regularly watch Coronation Street, whilst the documentaries on five and event programming such as Big Brother, I'm a Celebrity, Lost and Desperate Housewives also have significant appeal.


Men 55+

In an age where we're all living longer, 60 is no longer the milestone that it used to be and the differences in attitude between the older and younger generations are becoming increasingly less distinct. Once undesirable, this group is gaining prominence amongst marketers as it continues to expand in size and profitability. There are now over 8.2 million men over the age of 55 in the UK.

Although we are working later in life than ever before, the majority of men over the age of 55 are retired and therefore have significantly more free time than they did when they were younger. They have longer to spend on the things that they enjoy and this is reflected in their media consumption.

Their programme tastes are varied, although they do consume a high proportion of news content. Although reluctant to admit it, they appreciate entertainment programming (particularly Coronation Street and Parkinson) and these programmes often form the basis of shared viewing with their family and friends. Game shows (including Countdown and Millionaire), special interest programmes such as Gardener's World, documentaries and sport provide the bulk of their viewing schedules.


Women 16-34

By definition, young women have an incredibly broad set of media tastes and preferences. More than any other group, this is not just a matter of individual inclination but also life-stage - a young first-time mum will undoubtedly have a different set of objectives to a career focused woman or a student with fewer family ties. However, regardless of whether a woman spends the morning watching CBeebies with her toddler, the chances are she'll spend the evening using the TV as valuable 'me-time' in just the same way as a woman who's spent her week in an office.

Young women are big consumers of media on the whole, engaging with a variety of platforms on a daily basis. Compared to men of the same age group, young women generally consume more TV, with nearly half falling into the medium to heavy viewer categories. Predictably, for those with children, daytime viewing is an integral part of their day, with significant peaks during school hours. Late peak also provides a prime viewing opportunity with this group and just as importantly, conversational currency. Shows such as Desperate Housewives form integral foundations of viewing and as a barrage of research demonstrates, young women utilise TV content within conversation to a staggering degree, particularly reality shows such as Peter Andre: My Life and some high impact dramas.

Young women are less likely to have Sky and more inclined to have Freeview than men of the same age. To some degree, this disparity is fuelled by sports access. Only 12 per cent of women claim to have paid to access a sporting event - half the amount of men. Instead, women generally favour more socially led-content, such as soaps, drama, reality and entertainment and as such are high consumers of channels such as Channel 4, E4, ITV 2, Living and MTV.


Women ABC1

Unlike younger women, upmarket women have a higher tendency to have children in the household and are more likely to be separated or divorced than their male counterparts. Age undoubtedly proves a factor in this as a large proportion of ABC1 women are over the age of thirty therefore have more settled home-lives than they did in their twenties. As a result of their family status, the majority of ABC1 women juggle part-time work with parenthood and many stay at home to care for their children. ABC1 women are much less likely to work full time than younger women - again this is a reflection of their demanding family lives.

Upmarket women account for just under 30 per cent of all adults and are more likely to live in the south of England (especially London).

Women in this bracket value TV, although they don't rely on it or regard it as a pastime. This attitude is largely reflected in their tastes and habits. They are much more inclined to watch during late peak when the kids have gone to bed. This is fairly stable throughout the week. Interestingly, this demographic are more susceptible to time-shifted viewing than their male counterparts. Again, their demanding schedules are likely to dictate what they watch and when.

In spite of being pre-disposed towards terrestrial, digital channels rank amongst their favourites. E4, UKTV Style and Living rate alongside Channel 4, ITV and the BBC in terms of preference. Programming tastes vary with documentaries leading the way including Supersize vs Superskinny with event dramas such as Desperate Housewives also form the staples of their viewing. It is interesting to note that children's channels don't rate as highly amongst this audience as for Women 16-34. Again, this reflects the tendency of upmarket women to have older children whose tastes are developing beyond the realms of just kids' TV.


Women C2DE 

With over 11.5 million C2DE women currently living in the UK, this is one of the largest demographic audiences. It encompasses women from across the age spectrum, from young mums to retirees. For this reason, the range of tastes and preferences within this group are broad.

Due to the differentiation between the individuals that fall into this bracket, media slots into their lives in a host of different ways. TV provides a common thread, however and is a staple part of their media diets - indeed almost 20 per cent are self-confessed TV addicts! As a result, over half of all C2DE women like the idea of having lots of TV channels and appreciate the choice that digital viewing offers them.

ITV and Five rank amongst their favourite channels, although digital channels such as ITV2, E4 and Living TV also do well. Children’s channels such as Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network are also watched regularly reflecting the high amount of shared viewing between mums and children. Unsurprisingly, soaps and dramas (such as Hollyoaks) perform well against this audience. The X-Factor, I'm a Celebrity and Loose Women are all part of the staple viewing of this audience.

This group are active ‘interactors’! Nearly a quarter regularly interact with their TVs for reasons ranging from programme content to checking the weather. They are also inclined to think interactivity is a good idea. However, they are less driven by interactive advertising than their male counterparts and for this reason, interactive ads need to have a strong appeal in order to encourage them to work with the advertisement.

purposes such as banking.


Women 55+

As the population lives longer, people's attitudes are staying younger. Whereas 55 may have been considered old a few decades ago, this is no longer the case. With nearly over 9 million women over the age of 55 living in the UK today, this large demographic is set to continue expanding and is likely to become ever more appealing to advertisers as a result.
Generally, women in this age bracket are more time-rich than they were when they were younger. Although they still place a significant emphasis on their family and homes, by the time they reach 55 there is a likelihood that their offspring will have flown the nest altogether. With this new-found freedom, mature women use media in very different ways than their younger counterparts - the need to cram viewing around certain day parts and in amongst other activities is significantly lessened.

A third of this group relies on TV to keep informed about the world around them and the same amount cites TV as their favourite pastime. However, one of the main attitudinal differences between this group and those in the younger age brackets is that TV can be seen as a guilty pleasure. Although mature women generally rely upon it for information and entertainment (and as a result are one of the heaviest viewing groups) they are some of the most reluctant to admit it!

ITV (and its multi-channel extensions) rank amongst the most watched commercial stations for mature women, GMTV is their most popular choice in the morning. They also appreciate the BBC's output (particularly the Antiques Roadshow, the 10 o'clock News and Bargain Hunt), but tend to turn to commercial channels for news and general entertainment. Half of this group watch Coronation Street, Midsomer Murders and the ITV news regularly. 


Housewives with Children

There are currently over 6.7 million housewives with kids in the UK. Although there is an obvious cross-over between women 16-34 and ABC1 women, there are also some key points of differentiation.

Firstly, housewives with kids are incredibly media-savvy and exposed to host of different formats and messages per day. 36 per cent of this audience cite TV viewing as their favourite TV pastime and as a result, over 80 per cent have access to digital, well above the national average. This partially reflect the effect of having children in the household (digital take-up is higher amongst young families) but is also indicative of their love of TV as a whole, not only during family time, but as valuable 'me time' away from the kids. Commercial channels are particularly well-received and account for two thirds of their viewing. ITV 2, Living TV, UKTV Style, E4 and the children's channels such as Cartoon Network are amongst their favourites.

In general housewives with kids have a preference for soaps. Unsurprisingly, Coronation Street EastEnders and Emmerdale are the biggest programmes in terms of volume. Drama and entertainment (especially The X Factor and The Simpsons) also features highly and kids programming is twice as popular amongst this audience than with adults as a whole. Religion, sport and political broadcasts tend to turn this audience off but reality serves the opposite function (especially Big Brother.) News content is also less popular, with many women citing news to be more upsetting when they've had children of their own.

Although housewives with kids have the same tendencies to watch in peak as other demographics, they also watch throughout the day, providing ample targeting opportunities. TV if often used as an accompaniment to other activities, particularly household chores - this group are skilled multi-taskers. They also use TV time as time-out from their daily schedules. Breakfast viewing is high, usually to GMTV when the household kicks into gear and the kids are getting ready for school. Coffee time (0925-1200) is also popular, with chat (eg. Lorraine) and magazine formats such as This Morning proving appealing in terms of both entertainment and information. Post school also works well, particularly as a time for shared viewing, where kids and mums can be reached simultaneously.



Kids continue to race to maturity at an astonishing rate. They have complex social networks, formed both inside and outside the home through everything from school to online social media. They also soak-up new technology, with most showing none of the trepidation in relation to new developments that their parents experience. In fact, technology is firmly rooted at the heart of children's lives.

In recent years, the entertainment options available to them have exploded - not least in terms of TV where they have a dazzling array of channels available to them through the digital network.

For both boys and girls, music channels, children's channels, sport and film are the main drivers of viewing, although there is some variation between the sexes on the genres consumed. In terms of programming, there are significant variations by gender, but even in multi-channel homes, EastEnders and The Simpsons remain firm favourites amongst both sexes. Increasingly, and especially as children develop, content aimed at adults becomes firmly embedded in the viewing habits of kids.


Boys & TV

Boys are less inclined to watch BBC1 than girls but their consumption of five is higher.

Sky One is a firm favourite amongst this audience, particularly the 13-14s where it watched by nearly 60 per cent of them. Perhaps surprisingly, news channels are appealing to boys with 27 per cent of 11-16 year olds tuning in. Music and kids channels are as equally important to boys as to girls and continue to form the crux of their viewing. Boys are particularly avid consumers of cartoons with 30 per cent claiming to have watched a cartoon channel in the last week. Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and The Disney Channel remain firm favourites.

Although there is some variation by age, cartoons still rank highly with boys under the age of 12. As they hit their teen years, sports and music become the main focus.


Girls & TV

Girls claim to watch 2.4 hours of TV per day, although this increases as they mature and their tastes switch to a broader range of genres such as soaps and reality. Virtually all have access to digital with over 80 per cent claiming to have watched BBC1 or ITV in the last week, although they still watch high levels of terrestrial. 65 per cent of girls have a DVD player in their rooms (Boys are more likely to have DVDs, perhaps as they demand newer technology). Channel 4 proves more popular with girls than boys, largely due to content such as Hollyoaks and Big Brother.

Digitally, ITV2 is proving an increasing favourite for girls, especially amongst the 15-16 year olds. However, their tastes are varied and music, movies, news and documentaries also feature strongly on their programming radars. Drama, soaps, comedy and sitcoms (usually aimed at adults) provide the basis of most of their viewing and this distinguishes them most from boys who favour cartoons.

As girls develop, so do their tastes. Until the age of 9, girls favour children's channels and cartoons, but music rapidly takes over as they near their teens. As they move through their teenage years, music becomes the primary focus, particularly MTV and the pop based channels, although the older element become more susceptible to entertainment programming across channels like ITV2, Trouble and E4

Audience Profiles

In this section you can explore the media profiles of different buying audiences.  You can learn more about the complex relationship between audiences and programming and the importance of TV in people’s lives.