Introduction to the Sitcom programming report
Three fourths of all Americans watch a sitcom on at least an occasional basis. But the core audience consists of just over a fourth of the total population. The audience delivers much of the benefit of a homogenized cross-section of America, and has to please brand-building advertisers by being so close to the middle and at the same time favoring the younger side and losing the very oldest segment of the population. Keep reading and see how it all shakes out.
In the first part, we’ll look at the demographics, which as we mentioned are a rough mirror of America’s total 18+ makeup. The second section looks at how media influences the group, when they’re watching TV, and what else they tune in to. Finally, we’ll look into how the group interacts with the retail community.
Part One: The Sitcom Audience
In terms of gender, regular Sitcom viewers are almost an exact replica of the population as a whole. In terms of age, they are on average about a year younger than the norm, but skew a little high 35-44 and make up for it by being 4% below the norm with the 65+ crowd.
The core audience for Sitcoms is made up of about a quarter of the general population, but that said, here again they hew very closely to national averages on the employment side. This group is somewhat more likely to be in the professional/managerial category, and somewhat less likely to be retired. Average household income is rightly $1.5K greater than the norm.
The third part of the Sitcom audience description makes it three for three – again the ethnic makeup is very close to national averages, skewing slightly in favor of the Caucasian audience.
Part Two: How Sitcom Fans Use Media
TV ad influence/TV ad online search
The sitcom audience seems to be particularly prone to respond to television advertising, particularly in the electronics, apparel, vehicle and restaurant categories. Almost half will take a commercial as a starting point and head online for more info.
Sitcom fans are tuned in. They score very high across the board, with excellent prime time numbers and excellent numbers both before and after. You can even catch 10% of the core sitcom crowd in the wee hours of the morning.
The favorite music style of this group is Rock, and the nearly 40% that checked it off is more than 10% better than average. Top 40/Pop and Oldies are also big radio styles.
Did we mention that the core sitcom audience includes 28% or so of the general public? The nice bonus for advertisers using the genre is that occasional viewers who more than triple that percentage, all the way to 76.6%. This is a heavy TV using group in general, with a score for drama that is almost 20% greater than average. If you think they’re just out for entertainment, you’d be wrong, though – that number is 10% greater than average. They just watch a lot of TV across the board.
Part Three: Sitcom Fans and Retail
This group is on the frequent buyer plan in a number of categories, and is 2% more likely than the average American to buy a new car within the next six months. Need we say anything else to get you to keep reading?
Buying women’s/men’s/children’s clothing
The clothing venues used by Sitcom fans are in line with that of the general public, with a decided edge given to department stores.
Data Flashpoint: Do sitcom fans like to shop for clothing? Yes – once a week, twice a month, once a month – they buy more often than the average American in all three categories.
Buying children’s toys
At least some of this group is likely to have children, and they are more likely to have a preference for type of purchasing venue for toys, about 4% more likely to find it in the appropriate aisles of a discount store, and 3% more likely to find it in an actual toy store.
Not quite 29% of this group goes to a shoe store to buy shoes, about 6% more than average. Use of department and discount stores is slightly above normal.
As is the case with most of the broadcast audiences we’ve been studying, the Sitcom audience prefers to shop for electronics in a specialty store.
Data Flashpoint: Sitcom fans are electronically engaged, and as we discovered elsewhere in this study, are particularly avid television watchers. They’ll rent movies, play video games, surf the web, send emails and listen to music more than the average consumer.
Buying sporting goods
Almost 7% more Sitcom fans prefer a specialty store for their sporting goods needs than average, and about 10% more than average are particular about where they go for them.
Data Flashpoint: Members of this group is a little more active than the average person. They’re dead-on average with it comes to outdoors stuff, and more likely to be involved in personal fitness, team sports, golf and tennis.
This is yet another audience that is willing to cut corners and acquire items in this category at a discount store.
Buying home improvement
Like most Americans, specialty stores are the main source of goods in this category – and the Sitcom audience runs 10% above average on that count.
Data Flashpoint: The sitcom audience is slightly more likely to consider yard work and home improvement projects to be a leisure activity – but they are on the plus side of the equation.
Given the standing disparity between the number of average Americans and broadcast audiences who have no preference as to the retail source of groceries, we’d have to say that this group is not particularly prone to replace grocery stores with discount venues.
Data Flashpoint: The sitcom audience scores well when it comes to buying grocery items on a weekly basis – they are a hot group in all categories. That goes for organic items, too.
Buying health and beauty aids
The Sitcom audience is not above saving a little money on HBA items – over a third patronize discount stores, while somewhat less than a quarter pick these items up at the drugstore.
Data Flashpoint: This group wants to look and feel good – they are more likely to purchase HBA items on a regular basis than is the general population.
Drugstores are for drugs, and Sitcom fans follow that bit of conventional wisdom.
Data Flashpoint: And drugstores should strongly consider advertising on sitcoms, and at the media venues this group frequents when not watching a sitcom. They buy non-prescription drugs more frequently than the average consumer, and they also are sicklier than the average consumer. They are average in terms of old-age conditions involving blood pressure and cholesterol, and suffer more frequently from most other conditions, including suffering from allergies and carrying too many pounds.
Furniture buying habits are essentially in line with national averages, and focus on furniture stores more than any other type.
The buying habits for appliances also follow normal patterns.
Major planned purchases
Spending plans for this group are above average across the board, and this TV-loving group has that particular item on the wish list almost 5% more frequently than does the 18+ group.
Car/truck planned purchases
Automobile dealers and manufacturers take note: 12.7% of Americans are planning to buy a new car within six months. But 14.9% of the sitcom crowd is in the market. That is a huge difference in this high-ticket category.
Data Flashpoint: The big domestics (Ford, Chevy) both skew low with this group, but a lot of the Asian brands are hot — especially Toyota, Hynudai and Nissan.