PBS has a significant listening base in the age 50+ cohort, yet there was really no web property that addressed this group until . . . NextAvenue.

By Steve Moran

I don’t really consider myself to be very good “fanboy” material for much of anything but I come close with the website Next Avenue. If you are not reading Next Avenue you should be. It is a website that is owned and operated by PBS. Their target audience is, and the site is dedicated to seniors who are age 50 and older.  

A few weeks ago I attended the Silicon Valley Boomer Venture Summit and discovered that Susan Donnelly, the publisher of NextAvenue, was going to be attending and speaking. Immediately the little bit of fanboy tendency came out.

We spent quite a bit of time chatting . . . which mostly means I peppered her with questions about publishing. I did persuade her to do a video interview with me, which you can watch at the end of the article.  

Here are the highlights:


NextAvenue is just 5-years-old and it came about because PBS has a significant listening base in the age 50+ cohort and, in looking around, they found there was really no web property that addressed this group. Today, they publish new content daily. They are read by 15 million people per month and they have a lifetime reach of about 45 million.

They have discovered that 95% of their readers have taken some action because of something they read at NextAvenue and 73% of readers say it is a very important source of information.

They see themselves as Sesame Street for Grown-ups.

Some time ago they did a deep dive into their readership and discovered three distinct groups:

  1. Planners — These are individuals who are actively involved in their adulthood. They are working, they may be older parents and are just beginning to think about and plan for what might come next.

  1. Transitioners — These are individuals who may still be working or are just entering their retirement phase. They are starting the process of downsizing and moving into change. They are actively looking at what their “What’s Next?” Life will be.  

  1. Sustainers — These are people who are solidly in the late retirement phase, the oldest group of elders. They have figured out what retirement looks like and are deeply engaged in it. They are looking at staying as healthy and active as possible.

The first two groups are regular readers of NextAvenue. The last group is also important but mostly because their needs get addressed from the perspective of the caregiver . . . Groups 1 and 2.

Senior Living and NextAvenue

We spent some time talking about why NextAvenue should be important to senior living providers:

  • They are writing for and listening to the folks who are making senior living decisions and by paying attention to what they are writing, particularly their most popular list, could help with your content strategy and how you frame your conversations. For instance, one of their most popular articles was about what to do with mom and dad’s stuff. Could be a great topic for your own blog or an seminar.

  • Susan also noted that articles about senior living get high read numbers; however — and this could be an early warning sign for our industry — what interests their readers more is information on non-traditional senior living like co-housing.

You can watch the entire video here: