Millennial TV Viewing Strong, Says CBS

Beverly Hills, Calif --- New early research from CBS shows almost one-quarter of viewing of broadcast programs by millennials comes from “sources outside established currency parameters.”

In a presentation at the Television Critics Association here on Monday, David Poltrack, chief research officer of CBS Corp. and president of CBS Vision, says 22% of millennial viewing, those between the ages 18-34, went unmeasured for the broadcast weeks July 13 and July 20.

The research comes from a new CBS service, Symphony Advanced Media, which is running beta testing on a new measurement solution.

Poltrack says: “Symphony has built a sample of 15,000 respondents for whom they are measuring all video exposure on all devices in and out of the home through an innovative smartphone technology.”



Symphony plans to introduce this new service on September 1.

Overall, Poltrack says millennials seems to be following patterns of previous generations when it comes to traditional TV viewing. For example, millennials TV viewing in 2014-2015 increased slightly more than the historical pattern, up “44% as they moved past the age of 25.”

By way of comparison, prime-time growth for millennials grew about the same rate -- 43% -- when crossing that age threshold in looking at broadcast seasons in 1990, 2001 and 2006. This data comes from Nielsen NPM, Primetime PUTs (People Using Television) between September 22, 2014 and May 20, 2015.

That said, Poltrack said, when it comes to prime-time broadcast programs, “millennials are shifting their viewing toward these programs at a far faster rate than previous generations, albeit from a lower base.”

Millennials continue to watch video differently, coming from alternative devices to television, including smartphones, computers and tablets.

Long-term, Marc DeBevoise, EVP/GM CBS Digital Media for CBS Interactive, who presented the research with Poltrack said: “We see a future where the opportunity to grab onto that measurement and have that portion measured is significant and a great opportunity for CBS.”

5 comments about "Millennial TV Viewing Strong, Says CBS".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 11, 2015 at 1:24 p.m.

    Leonard, what say you?

  2. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, August 11, 2015 at 2:09 p.m.

    Is research released by CBS credible? Would we trust a study released by Hershey showing that chocolate is good for you?

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 11, 2015 at 4:48 p.m.

    Douglas, I can't vouch for the research that CBS used but I can vouch for David Poltrack, who I've known for many years. I don't believe that he misrepresented his findings. In any event, there is little doubt that an unknown percentage of "linear TV" viewing is not being measured by the incumbent rating system and that this is probably most true of millennials and upscale viewers. What the exact figures are remains to be verified, but CBS and the other broadcast TV networks, who make similar claims, do have a point.

  4. Leonard Zachary from T___n__, August 12, 2015 at 2:41 p.m.

    "almost one-quarter of viewing of broadcast programs by millennials comes from “sources outside established currency parameters."

    Ed the payTV bundle is downsizing. Retransmission fees will need to follow. With no safety net for the major Broadcsters who will now have to compete in a Audience Fragmented landscape, with leveraged balance sheets and being on the wrong side of technology in a legacy business model will require downsizing.

    CBS has to put the best spin on it, just ask ESPN.

  5. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 12, 2015 at 3:06 p.m.

    You are right, Leonard, the "pay bundle" is, indeed downsizing.

    Once again, we disagree as to the extent, not the direction, of the changes that are evident. Not to put words in your mouth, but you seem to envision a near or utter collapse of the "linear TV" powers that be and the loss of a tremendous amount of their viewing tonnage. I see this as a more selective and slower movement that will allow the "linear TV" mogels ample time to make adjustments----if they are wise enough. I also don't see them losing the vast majority of their viewer base---the attrition will come mainly from the affluent and the young. Advertisers who cater only to such consumers will, obviously, have to follow them into digital platforms----but not if the digital sellers wont deal with their glaring viewability and pricing problems and, also, if ad blocking--- a mostly affluent and younger penchant----rises to such high levels that a digital reach problem emerges.

    Last, but not least, most consumers fall into the middle aged and older categories and most are not exactly afluent. If "linear TV" holds on to much of the viewing by such consumers---as I believe it will----many advertisers will be loath to abandon this traditional and proven platform---"legacy medium" or not.

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