CBS research chief says millennials will soon watch more broadcast TV

CBS
The prevailing wisdom has been that skinny bundles and direct-to-consumer video products may be best for reaching millennials.

CBS Chief Research Officer David Poltrack shared new data indicating that millennials will soon start watching more broadcast television.

According to Adweek, CBS’ data shows the age range for millennials is now 22-40, outside of the typical 18-34 demographic, and that the average age of a millennial today is 30. He said that broadcast TV viewing will increase each year for that demo, as will average economic value.

Poltrack and CBS are also observing “delayed adulthood” among millennials, who say they don’t reach adulthood on average until 30. He said that results in major purchases happening later in life and at an accelerated pace due to the delay.

The data is significant in light of so many broadcasters and programmers extending content toward nontraditional platforms in efforts to attract millennial audiences. NBC in particular has poured lots of money into and formed partnerships with millennial-tuned digital media companies like BuzzFeed and Vox. Most recently, NBC made a $500 million strategic investment in Snapchat—a social media platform that NBC has been creating content for—as part of its recent IPO.

RELATED: NBC says $500M Snap investment part of becoming 'better, more digitally focused'

The prevailing wisdom has been that skinny bundles and direct-to-consumer video products may be best for reaching millennials who have been dubbed cord-cutters or cord-nevers for their willingness to bail on pay-TV services.

Fox COO Chase Carey said in 2015 said that OTT services provide a good avenue to millennial audiences.

"Everybody talks about the millennials, and I think the ability to create packages or offers that speak to that generation is also an interesting opportunity," he said. “Obviously, they're consumers we don't reach today … I think it's important everything we do is adding to the pie, not cannibalizing the pie, creating offers that speak to customers that want something different. We think that will be a relatively small minority but it's important for us to do. And we look forward to developing all of that."

But late last year, Fox CEO James Murdoch said that his company was in no rush to offer standalone OTT services and that it was being cautious not to fragment its business.

CBS’ new research, which was done in partnership with Nielsen Catalina, showed that ads placed during sitcoms provided the best ROI, followed by variety shows. The results were part of a study in which CBS’ Campaign Performance Audit looked at how six different consumer packaged goods’ ads performed across different genres of television.

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