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As America ages, "The Golden Bachelor" targets key demographic for advertisers: Seniors

Both the contestants on "The Golden Bachelor" and the show's target audience are distinctly different from past seasons of the long-running series: Its newest star is a 72-year-old grandfather looking for love. And If the show proves to be a hit, it could help ABC lure advertisers looking to target an increasingly important segment of the population as America ages — older viewers.

"The 50-plus generations have a lot more money than younger generations, so I think it makes a lot more sense to focus on that older demographic," AARP film and television analyst Tim Appelo told CBS MoneyWatch. "We are the champion coach potatoes of the world and we also have most of the money."

It's well known that many younger viewers have turned to streaming, and are consuming content on a variety of different devices and platforms. ABC's median viewer age is 64. The median viewer age for ABC shows that stream on Hulu is 42, the New York Times reported.

"The fact that a lot of people are cutting the cord and not watching as much old-school TV and are turning to newer forms of entertainment increases the need for broadcasters to turn to grownup audiences," Appelo said. He counts himself among that group. 

More than more than 40% of the audience for earlier seasons of The Bachelor was older than 55, according to a YouGov survey

"Advertisers have been sold a bill of goods about the predominance of the younger market. But they should pay attention to the people that are buying stuff," Appelo said.

"These people have a lot of money"

Older Americans tend to have greater spending power than younger generations, with seniors the wealthiest age cohort, according to Brookings.

The Bachelor revamp "is also to show older people as vibrant. Too often they're portrayed as clueless about tech and baffled, especially in commercials. So showing them in a light where they are sexy and have lives is a smart move to remind advertisers this is who is watching shows, and these people have a lot of money," said Alain Wolk, co-founder and lead analyst TVREV, a media and TV analyst group.

Erin Weir, executive vice president of marketing for ABC and Disney Entertainment Television, said in an interview posted on Disney's website that refreshing the program has generated plenty of buzz, describing it as "the most successful announcement of a Bachelor ever."

Retired restaurateur Gerry Turner, 72, star of "The Golden Bachelor" on ABC. Craig Sjodin

The Golden Bachelor features 72-year-old Gerry Turner, an Indiana grandfather, retired restaurateur and avid pickleball player whose wife of 43 years died in 2017. He's getting a second shot at love as contestants vie for his affection.

"A lot of advertisers are realizing the value of these older audiences. From that perspective it's a smart move for ABC because they still make money from advertising," Wolk added.

The Golden Bachelor, whose season kicked off on Thursday, is also airing at a time of greater public consciousness about age discrimination as well as new appreciation for mature performers in Hollywood.

This is yet another reason why analysts think the boomer generation makes up a coveted demographic for television networks and advertisers.

"People in their 60s and 70s are a lot younger — they are a good audience and have a lot of money, and it's a good place for ABC to be," Wolk said. "What's happening is the show helps remind advertisers that there is a lot more to the senior audience. They are more vibrant, active have a lot more interests and this is a great way to reach them."

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