John Anderson asked this rhetorical question today on CNN.com, “Are the Oscars stuck in the past?” The New York Times headlined its Oscar review, “Even the Jokes Have Wrinkles.” Is it because the Oscars were not forward-thinking, as Anderson suggested, or that Hollywood is merely responding to a trend that is already evident in political discourse: the growing impact of the baby boomer generation as it gets older?
Perhaps it would be more relevant to ask the largest segment of the U.S. population – the baby boomers – what they thought of last night’s Oscars. Last year, the Hollywood Reporter quoted CBS’ chief research officer in its article on shows for baby boomers: “The fact is an affluent 58-year-old is certainly more valuable than a 22-year-old who is just getting by.” Even the New York Times wrote last week about how graying baby boomers are influencing the way Hollywood and the movie theater chains deliver the movie experience.
CNN’s Anderson did not do the country’s largest market segment any favors when he wrote, “Why would the show’s writers and producers characterize the idea of going to the movies as something quaint, nostalgic and on the way out? Time and again, participants reflected on moviegoing as something they remembered fondly from their childhoods. They might have been talking about the Civil War.”
I am not a baby boomer, but as a consultant who is aware of the economic pull of the baby boomer market, I thought the Oscars were fun to watch. Anderson should talk to a Hollywood marketing research expert.