Boomer! Goes the Market

12:20 PM -- Telecom service providers that ignore the senior market do so at their own peril, warns Laura Buddine, founder of Iacta LLC , which creates Games4TV.

Because of aging baby boomers, the senior market represents one of the fastest-growing demographics, she points out. But more importantly, this group of customers is extremely loyal, which means that once they are satisfied, they are very unlikely to churn, because in general they hate change. The telco or cable company that can succeed with seniors reaps significant revenue rewards.

Witness the 250,000 seniors still using WebTV, at their own expense, Buddine says.

And because those ages 55 and up are also very comfortable with TV, they represent an excellent market for a service bundle, if it is targeted to their needs, Buddine says. Seniors don't need hundreds of TV channels, but they would like services such as on-screen access to emergency numbers, local programming that includes community groups and live human beings for customer service.

Speaking earlier this month to a TelcoTV audience, Buddine outlined a strategy for selling to seniors that includes outreach to affinity groups, including civic organizations, church groups, and more, to invite and encourage seniors to try broadband services by stressing ease-of-use and access to senior-friendly programming.

Buddine's own organization stresses the importance of games for seniors because "people who play games are happier and more alert -- they maintain 'brain plasticity,'" she says. Getting seniors involved in online games leads to a level of social interaction that can alleviate or help avoid the depression that can result from loneliness and inactivity.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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