CBS took a break from showcasing its upcoming fall shows on Monday to the nation’s television critics in Beverly Hills to poke holes in what it described as the “myths” surrounding TV — mostly, that millennials aren’t watching TV.
The network’s chief research officer, David Poltrack, acknowledged a recent Nielsen report showing an alarming 11 percent decline in viewing among viewers ages 18-34. Those viewers aren’t gone, we just couldn’t find them, he said. Until now. Surprise! They’re viewing on tablets, smartphones and screens other than the living room TV, or via streaming services like Netflix. The network is working with Symphony Advanced Media to try to find new ways to quantify viewing.
But will millennials ever watch TV the old-fashioned way? Sure. Poltrack predicts this generation’s viewing habits will mirror the choices of those who preceded them onto the living room recliner. 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’s own research. (The decline of pay TV is hard to deny, though, as my colleague Peter Kafka observes.)
Oh, and that recent report that suggests viewers spend more time watching Internet videos than TV? Poltrack challenged its methodology — which he called unrepresentative and biased — and cited contradictory findings from researchers Nielsen and comScore, which offered the opposing view that TV is king.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.