Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Millennials Watch More Broadcast TV As They Age

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.

According to Fierce Cable, 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.

David Poltrack
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.

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.

According to Adweek, CBS is looking at the concept of “delayed adulthood,” in which most millennials now say they don’t become adults until they’re 30. “All previous generations would have probably said 22 or 23,” said Poltrack.

By 2025, millennials will represent the bulk of the 18-49 demographic, said Poltrack. “This is where the action is going to be in our economy. This is going to drive our economy for the next 10 years.”

And as millennials age, buy homes and have kids, said Poltrack, they will begin to watch more television and more broadcast TV.

Nielsen looked at how TV viewing among the four big broadcast networks increased as viewers aged from one demo into the next during three “base years”—1990, 2001 and 2006—and compared those results to 2016. During the base years, adults in the 25-34 demo on average watched 60 percent more broadcast TV than they had when they were in the 18-24 demo. But last year, that average jumped to 67 percent. The shift is even more pronounced in the 35-39 demo, whose broadcast TV watching increased 40 percent from the 25-34 demo last year, compared with a mere 3 percent increase during the previous base years.

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