Millennial TV Viewers: Come Out, Wherever You Are!

Turns out, millennials are watching (a lot) more than was reported, but they shun the living room TV in favor of streaming.

If you look at nothing but the numbers gathered for TV viewership, you’d think that many millennials have simply dumped traditional TV, accounting for an 11 percent drop in TV viewing among adults ages 18 to 34. But the numbers don’t tell the whole story.

The numbers are misleading because millennials typically shun the living room TV in favor of watching shows on tablets, smartphones and other screens, or via streaming on services like Hulu and Netflix, David Poltrack, chief research officer at CBS, explained to Re/code.

A 2014 millennials and entertainment report by Verizon found that millennials actually watch three times as much TV online as non-millennials.

Poltrack said CBS is working with Symphony Advanced Media to develop new methods for quantify millennial viewing.

It’s also expected that millennials will eventually start watching their favorite programs on a traditional television again, Poltrack said.

Anti-establishment boomers and MTV-jaded Gen-Xers began spending more time in front of the TV once they got their own homes and families, he said. That’s also true of millennials over the age of 35, whose TV viewing skyrocketed once they moved out of their parents’ homes, according to CBS’ own research.

Poltrack thinks millennials will eventually purchase a home, a comfortable recliner and a big television, to better “experience broadcast television and its advertising,” Deadline said.

Interestingly, fewer TV viewers are fast-forwarding through DVR’d commercials these days. It appears that commercials are being allowed to play in their entirety.

“Because they are too busy on their phones to fast-forward through the ads,” Poltrack said. “Two-thirds of people (watching TV) are also using second screens (and) through that mobile device people can act on things they see in advertising to create a second screen experience we are just beginning to tap into.”

Check out “Millennials Spend Big Bucks on Media.”

How do you watch television? How much do you watch and how often? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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