We thought they had it all – now baby boomers get own TV channel

Jonathan Brown
Wednesday 30 June 2010 00:00
Comments

It is the generation that has had it all: five decades of peace and prosperity, technological and social revolution bringing longer and more fulfilled lives, followed by fat pensions. Now, when they are tired of roaring about on their new motorbikes, working out at the gym or renovating their Umbrian farmhouses, the baby-boomer generation will be able to relax with its own television channel.

Vintage TV, which is due to begin broadcasting in September, is aimed at the over-fifties. It will focus on culture and music from the post-war rock'n'roll years – from the Berlin airlift to the fall of Mrs Thatcher. The presenters lined up for Vintage, which will be available to 10 million viewers via Sky and Freesat, include veteran broadcaster Paul Gambaccini, 61. The Who singer Roger Daltrey, 66, Blondie's Debbie Harry, 64, Yes keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman, 61, are also set to appear.

One of the innovations on the 24-hour channel will be newly commissioned videos for 500 hits that were in the charts before they became a compulsory accompaniment for the MTV generation in the 1980s. The creators of Vintage said the programming would provide a "destination" for the fifty-somethings who find their interests squeezed by broadcasters looking to attract younger viewers.

David Pick, the founder and head of Vintage TV and a former lawyer for music giant EMI, said his target demographic constitutes 42 per cent of the population and is growing rapidly. He said he wants the output to reflect the longer and more active lives enjoyed by millions of older people.

"Fifty is nothing. Now people are more appreciative and they have more chances to do more and more things. Many of them have greater disposable incomes, their children will have finished their educations and though they are most likely to be still in work, they have much greater choice and opportunity in their lifetimes," he said.

The channel has caught the attention of advertisers, and music companies are keen to exploit their lucrative back catalogues. As well as music videos, Vintage will feature classic musicals and films with strong music content, such as The Commitments. A new show based on The Antiques Roadshow for music collectors and the revival of archive series of The Old Grey Whistle Test, The Tube and the South Bank Show are also being lined up.

The over-sixties view the greatest number of hours of television each week and are likely to enjoy double the length of retirement they did 50 years ago, with men drawing their pensions for more than 15 years on average and women for 22 years. Pensioners are worth £3bn a year to the travel industry and take as much exercise as the average 25-year-old did in the 1950s.

But Mr Pick said older people should not feel patronised and that younger viewers were equally welcome. "I would move away from the idea that we are targeting them. We are offering them an opportunity to experience the music they grew up with through their youth," he said.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in