Audiences Just Can’t Quit Network TV, Say Survey and CBS Exec

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It’s not just ESPN that discounts the threat of audiences abandoning television for the internet; in fact, CBS’ research chief David Poltrack is even going so far as to say that he thinks that television isn’t getting full recognition of the audiences it continues to draw in. Talking at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, Poltrack said that research shows that not only do most households view both broadcast and streaming content, but that the growth of the streaming audience (Only 6% in the last year) is so slow to as to not seem a threat at this time.

Interestingly, Poltrack also argued that DVRs are making viewing figures seem smaller for television seem smaller than they actually are, saying that “approximately one fifth of the CBS primetime audience comes from playback,” adding “It’s a pretty safe bet that …we do not get full credit for the audience we deliver.”

Meanwhile, new research shows that audiences are a long way away from cutting the cord to television; an October survey by Needham & Co. suggests that the majority of viewers would have problems losing the four main broadcast networks if they made the switch to streaming only; NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox took the top four spots in the question of which TV channel viewers would miss if they dropped television (HBO was fifth). Oddly enough, most people answering the survey didn’t pick a favorite network, but answered all four. Analyst Laura Martin explains,

Most folks think of the four broadcasters as a monolith. This may be because consumers actually watch shows on all four broadcast networks, or it could be because they have no idea which network their favorite shows are on.

Firstly, poor CW for not being included in the monolith. Secondly, it’s interesting that it’s the broadcast networks – most of whom stream a lot of their shows online – that get the top slots, instead of smaller cable channels who don’t have such internet presence. Where’s the Food Network love, people?

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