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Web vs. TV ... Is it Really About Age?

This may be a little "inside baseball" for normal, non-media immersed folks, but I figured I'd throw it out there anyway.

My competitors over at WSJ.com have a nice little item about my semi-competitors over at ABCNews.com. Seems like they are revamping their Web version of "World News Tonight" because it, gasp, isn't pulling in people like it does on TV.

Netizens will scratch their heads wondering why it took so long for the network to figure that out. But, having worked at a couple of networks now, I can sort of feel for the Web group over at ABC. You do encounter an ingrained philosophy of viewing the Internet as, well, just another TV. "So why can't the Web site just do like our TV programs?!"

The piece put a lot of emphasis on age. TV viewers tend to be older and so, less Net savvy, the thinking goes. But I'm not sure I totally go along with that. Age doesn't necessarily mean befuddlement. I see plenty of confused kids. And I get a fair amount of email from the older demo, particularly in my last round.

There's also the notion that the folks watching the TV are going to be the exact same folks surfing the Web. Sure, there's some overlap ... but not that much.

To its credit the WSJ pointed to some more pertinent differences ... Internet is more about on-demand and actual content. No duh there. Also, people tend to gravitate toward soft stuff, like slideshows and pop-culture items. No duh there, either, but I'll add that the same thing probably happens in TV news programs and newspapers too ... the Internet just measures viewer/reader behavior better.