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Fleeting Demographic
A show intended for a certain audience with a clearly defined demographic. Essentially, this means the audience may begin to watch the show at a certain age, but at some point will abandon it later, presumably in the future. This applies to many shows for children. The "original" target audience simply outgrows the show.

Such shows usually do not provide any deliberate treats for a Periphery Demographic. Because anyone watching will not do so for a long time, the showrunners can be tempted into repeating many premises they know the current audience will consider "new".

If fans of the show start hating it later and claim that the show was better in their time and now it sucks even though it still pleases the target audience, then it's a clear case of Periphery Hatedom.


Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Takara & Sunrise's Brave Series of Super Robot shows is an interesting case, as they originally set out to produce something that would attract a new generation of kids each year, but wound up developing a dedicated fanbase anyway. Though the sixth series, The Brave of Gold Goldran, the most "kiddie" of the bunch had the highest TV ratings, it was unpopular with longtime fans and was apparently a merchandising disappointment as well. After that, the final two shows went for Multiple Demographic Appeal, first with Brave Command Dagwon, where the robots were piloted by a team of teen heartthrobs in an attempt to cash in on the earlier Samurai Troopers series' Periphery Demographic success with teenage girls (a scheme Sunrise would again pull, this time with much greater success with Mobile Suit Gundam Wing). Then came GaoGaiGar, a giant love letter to the last two decades of giant robot anime which found much more success with the otaku crowd than it ever did with schoolchildren.
    • Dagwon actually had a slightly different problem — it was made to cash in on Evangelion, and the overall feel of the stories was frequently closer to Ultraman than anything else. If anything, the target audience had to grow up a bit to appreciate it.
  • Much of the longevity of the Pokémon anime can be attributed to the fact that the target demographic cycles through about ever five years, so the fact that the same general plot is used every generation only serves to annoy some older fans (mostly outside Japan) and no one else.
  • Doraemon.

     Comic Books  

  • Superman comics in the 1950s and 1960s used to repeat the same plots every three to five years, since that was the average length of time a child would read comics.
    • The introductions of Mon-El and Star Boy in the Legion of Super-Heroes are well-known for outright copying earlier stories, to the point where the story that became the Mon-El story was most likely reprinted in the Superman in the 50's book specifically because this made it famous.
  • Archie Comics works on the same premise of recycled plots as Superman, etc; they have kept the Riverdale gang in high school for over 65 years now...
    • These comics take it one step further. About 80 percent of any given new Archie Comic will be stories lifted directly from earlier issues, although with some dialogue and panels edited to prevent Values Dissonance.
    • Strangely, it seems that the majority of its readers nowadays are people who have been reading it ever since they were kids.
  • Treasure Chest, by definition, as it was distributed exclusively through Catholic parochial schools.

     Live-Action TV  

  • Barney & Friends, Teletubbies and most other "preschool"-oriented shows. While earlier examples like Sesame Street had enough Parental Bonus to benefit from the Nostalgia Filter, the success of Barney led to a trend in the '90s of making these shows as plotless and repetitive as possible, out of the belief that that made them more suitable for the target audience. Now that those original toddler "fans" are teens and young adults, they want as little to do with these shows as their parents and older siblings did.
  • One of the reasons MTV has maintained its popularity over time is that it elected not to follow its original audience (the teenagers of the eighties and early nineties) into adulthood, instead opting to always focus its marketing on the current generation of teenagers. (Whether its quality has also been maintained is a matter best left for debate elsewhere.)
    • The Simpsons lampshaded this by having a quick reference to Logan's Run that involved microchip-implanted VJs that alerted the execs to send in a new show host whenever the original person became a Christmas Cake.
  • Up until around 2007 or so, The Disney Channel had an explicit policy of cancelling shows – animated and live-action – after 65 episodes, regardless of popularity. The first show to avoid the episode-limit cancellation was Kim Possible due to huge fan outcry (and, allegedly, the contract with the German network that ran the show). This concept was an idea held over from the 1980's and the rise of syndication and the early children's cable networks: 65 was the number of episodes you needed for a show to be successfully syndicatednote , and kids will probably watch repeats anyway so why make more? Also, since kids' tastes change so fast, they expected that no child would stick with a show for more than three seasons regardless.
  • Power Rangers: Although the show does have its older fans, the general demographic is young boys who will grow out of the show after a few years, which is probably why the show started doing the new storyline every year thing instead of the continuing storyline it used to do. Since this is exactly what happens in the Japanese couterpart, Super Sentai, no one seems to mind.
  • In the UK, twee/teen dramas Grange Hill and Byker Grove both had this. Both shows ran for long enough that their original target demographic became utterly periphery, but never completely left the show behind. Unfortunately, the BBC execs decided to shift the target demographic down towards even younger children, resulting in a complete loss of interest from all demographics, and the eventual cancellations of both shows.

     Magazines  

  • MAD has lasted fifty years by being read by the newest crop of preteens who initially fall in love with the publication and then a few years later finally grow out of it to complain that "it isn't as funny as it used to be".
  • The more specific the subject, the more likely any line of magazines is to have this kind of demographic. For instance, wedding magazines: Considering the rate at which most people get married (even with divorce rates being so high in our troubled times), chances are most of the sales revenue for the publishers comes from a lot of engaged people buying a few individual issues rather than from the comparatively few wedding coordinators and the like buying the full subscriptions.

     Music  

  • Hello, Hilary Duff! Or Miley Cyrus! Or... well, pick any tween musician. They're going to be around for a couple years until their current fans get older, at which point the next one comes along.
  • Male teenage pop stars and boy bands have a similar problem: The Jonas Brothers were a big teen phenomenon, but their popularity suddenly tanked in 2009 as people started to get tired of Disney shoving them down their throats. This void was filled by Justin Bieber, who became an even bigger phenomenon. Unfortunately, as fast as his fanbase was growing, his hatedom was growing even faster. This turned Bieber into the media's punching bag. Bieber's massive Hype Backlash in turn brought One Direction into the spotlight. The boy band quickly knocked Bieber off of his throne, and once his bad behavior came into play, Bieber fever was over.
  • As hinted at above, Disney has made a cottage industry of manufacturing tween pop stars to work like dogs for four years before discarding them for the next kid. This is frequently derided as "the Disney Music Machine" in the press and has been going on for at least 60 years.
  • One of the reasons why "Oldies" radio stations (ie. radio stations devoted to rock and roll made from the mid-50's until about the early-70's) became increasingly sparse around the Turn of the Millennium was because radio executives noticed their target demographic was aging significantly and was, thus, no longer considered profitable.

     Newspaper Comics  

  • Non-TV example used as a plot point in Pinky and the Brain: Bil Keane's Family Circus cartoon seems to fall squarely in this section.
  • The comic strip Marvin, about the exploits of an ill-behaved redheaded baby, is designed to appeal to one group and one group only: young mothers. This allows the strip to recycle ideas every few years, and has also lent to its poor reputation among comics fans (this is one of those strips that people love to hate).
  • There are a few newspaper strips that are explicitly made for young children, most notably Bob Weber Jr's Slylock Fox.

     Professional Wrestling 

  • Although it is watched by people of many different ages, WWE is aimed at people in their teens to early twenties. The writers take advantage of the fleeting demographic with the seven year rule, which allows storylines to be reused after much of the fanbase has turned over.

     Theatre  

  • In-show example: Bye Bye Birdie has a scene where a barely-teenage girl is sad because by the time her idol Conrad Birdie comes back from the army, she'll be too old for him.

     Video Games  

  • Happens with most Edutainment Games, especially the ones specifically made for kids of a particular grade level.


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