Question Of The Week
Would You Pay $5 to Watch Your Favorite TV Show?
Someday we’ll commission a poll in which people are asked how much they’d have to be paid to watch their least favorite TV show. You can bet that a fiver wouldn’t cover it. In the meantime, with the TV audience dispersed across today’s array of viewing choices, even some so-called “hit” shows barely eke out double-digit ratings. But does that mean we’re not deeply attached to the shows we most enjoy? Maybe it does. In a nationwide survey conducted for Adweek, just 16 percent of respondents answered “yes” when asked whether they’d pay $5 to watch their favorite show. That’s down from the 20 percent who said the same when we posed this question last year, though a percentage point above the “yes” figure of the year before that. Women (18 percent) were more likely than men (14 percent) to say they’d ante up. In a breakdown of the data by age group, the 25-34-year-olds were the most likely to say they’d spend the $5, with 21 percent answering “yes.” The 18-24s also came in above the overall average on this question, with 19 percent saying they’d spend the money. At the opposite end of the TV spectrum were the 35-44-year-olds (14 percent) and the 45-55s (12 percent).

A Dressing Down
Ready-to-Wear Opinions
While Hillary Clinton’s approval rating among the general public has soared of late, a survey by New York-based Ziccardi & Partners finds she does not pass muster with the nation’s fashion press. The survey sample of 500 fashion journalists–and doesn’t it make your blood run cold to learn there are so many of them?–placed the first lady in a three-way tie for citation as worst-dressed celeb of the ’90s. Her sisters in the fashion doghouse: Jenny McCarthy and Pamela Anderson. As the chart indicates, movies are regarded as a negligible factor in shaping current fashion, while TV rules. What are the fashion journalists themselves wearing? Asked how often they wear black, 27 percent said they do so every day and another 55 percent said they do so three times a week. Individualists all.

Influential Teens
And Remember to Get Some More Nachos
We don’t let them vote, presumably on the grounds that they’re too immature to choose dog catchers and senators and the rest. Yet, we allow them to determine the fate of consumer brands on which the livelihoods of millions of men, women and children depend. No wonder today’s teenagers are confused about what the adult world expects of them. A study by Channel One finds that American teenagers influence more than $50 billion in grocery sales. The categories in which sales are most driven by teen preferences: sports drinks, breakfast bars, pretzels, nachos/tortilla chips, potato chips, sweet snacks and desserts. Sounds like teens eat a wretched diet and then try to work off the empty calories by a brisk round of mountain-biking. Anyhow, the research also finds teens influential in less obvious categories like frozen foods. They exert comparatively little influence on the selection of paper products, fresh meats, fruits, vegetables and dairy products.

Tv As Therapy
Passive Resistance to Modern-Day Stress
If you’re finding the ’90s a stressful decade, take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone. Polling by Yankelovich Partners finds Americans use “stressful” more than any other word to describe this period. The chart below gives some idea of how they’re coping with all the wear and tear. Yankelovich also detects what it terms a “new introspection” among Americans, with 35 percent of those surveyed saying “spiritual well-being is more important than mental or physical”–up from the 30 percent who held that view a year ago.

The Home Front
Be It Ever So Humble–But Preferably, It Isn’t
You certainly wouldn’t want to work for them. But it would be intriguing to meet the 0.1 percent of Americans who believe the home office is the “most romantic” room in the house. Those passionate entrepreneurs! The figure comes from polling conducted for Pier 1 Imports and Hearst Magazines in a joint study of Americans’ attitudes about home and hearth, using a survey sample of college-educated home-owners. Asked to cite the “most comfortable” room in the house, respondents gave the living room a plurality (34 percent), which helps explain why it also topped the “favorite room” tally (29 percent). “Least favorite” was the attic (17 percent). Among other info-tidbits: The amount of living space is the foremost factor in determining whether people are satisfied with their homes–and 72 percent term themselves either “very” or “extremely” satisfied.

Cash On Hand
Now, Who’s Afraid Of the Big Bad Bear?

With Wall Street’s gyrations throwing a scare into investors, forecasts quickly emerged to suggest that retailers are in for a lousy Christmas. The theory is that consumers who blithely took on debt as their stock portfolios fattened will think twice about doing so now that paper profits have thinned. Sounds entirely plausible. But as some investors get scared into cashing out, it’s also likely they’ll be walking around with more ready money than ever. Alert marketers will do their best to see that people spend some of their capital gains before they get around to reinvesting them. After all, if the “wealth factor” prompted people to spend money they didn’t have their hands on, surely they’ll spend now that the cash itself is burning holes in their pockets.

Active Agencies
Adding Up Adweek’s Classified Ads for Jobs
The market for jobs in advertising, marketing and media sprinted ahead last month, judging by the volume of help-wanted ads running in Adweek. Amid double-digit gains in five of the six regions, worries about a slowdown can abate for the time being. While client-side hiring has pushed up the numbers during much of the mid-’90s boom, agencies were conspicuously active on the hiring front last month.