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TV Column
Posted at 06:00 PM ET, 10/27/2011

Nielsen: Audiences, advertisers ‘flocking' to LGBT-inclusive programming


Chaz Bono (R) on “Dancing With the Stars” with pro dancer Lacey Schwimmer (L). (Adam Taylor - ABC)
Two days after Chaz Bono’s departure from ABC’s popular “Dancing With the Stars” triggered epic navel-lint picking by industry pundits — and incendiary-comment writing on “Dancing’s” recap blogs — Nielsen proclaimed: “Audiences and advertisers are flocking to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender-inclusive programs.”

“The New Mainstream,” Nielsen called it.

In a report to reporters, Nielsen said that “LGBT-inclusive” programs represented 24 percent of broadcast prime-time scripted and reality shows last season. Those shows, Nielsen noted, garnered 28 percent of broadcast prime-time TV viewing — and 22 percent of the ad dollars spent on broadcast prime-time TV.

Overall, one in four scripted series and one in five reality shows were LGBT-inclusive, the number-crunching company reported.

“Teen” and “Millennial” viewers dedicated more than one-third of their prime-time scripted-TV viewing to series that depict at least one regular or recurring LGBT character, Nielsen said.

Meanwhile, Nielsen reported that women 50 and older dedicated a “significant” amount of their reality-TV viewing time to those programs that featured LGBT cast members, hosts, judges and/or competitors. But the company did not have an actual statistic to share, so we’re left guessing that has something to do with the popularity of “Dancing with the Stars” among older female viewers.

Nielsen did not release the list of series in its report, and a company rep declined to do so when asked by The TV Column. But in its release, Nielsen did note what some of the LGBT-inclusive programs were. They included: ABC’s “Dancing,” “Modern Family” and “Grey’s Anatomy”; NBC’s “The Office”; Fox’s “Glee” and “House”; CW’s “90210”; and CBS’s “Big Brother 12.”

Shows that incorporated LGBT characters skewed toward “Eastern and Pacific” viewers” and were less watched by Midwesterners, Nielsen reported. That geographic differential was most pronounced among 18- to 24-year-olds in the Midwest, compared with 18- to 24-year-olds in other regions.

LGBT-inclusive shows attract “dynamic audiences,” said Nielsen, not bothering to define “dynamic.” Nielsen generates reports primarily for advertisers looking for guidance as to where they should buy ad time to reach the segment of the population their product targets.

Among viewers ages 25 to 49, LGBT-inclusive shows were most likely to reach college-educated white chicks, small white-collar households and budding families (those with three or fewer members).

Motion pictures and department stores were the top advertisers, devoting about 28 percent of their ad dollars.

Nielsen’s report came out days after the second annual Spirit Day.

Oct. 20 was dubbed Spirit Day a year ago by teenager Brittany McMillan to pay tribute to LGBT youth who have committed suicide after they reported being bullied.

By  |  06:00 PM ET, 10/27/2011

 
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