Why David Poltrack, TV’s Top Researcher, Says Stop Worrying About the Decline in Viewers and Key Demos This TV Season. Actually, a New ‘Golden Era’ Is Here

Dec 4, 2012  •  Post A Comment

"Never mind those declines in viewers and key demographics this season, broadcast television is entering a ‘new golden era,’ according to David Poltrack, chief research officer of CBS Corp."

So reports our good friend Joe Flint in the Los Angeles Times’ Company Town blog.

Poltrack, speaking at the UBS Media and Communications Conference, cited the development of new platforms such as digital streaming and video on demand, saying these platforms are allowing networks to broaden their reach beyond the TV screen.

The TV ratings, however, still need to catch up, Poltrack said.

"The reason that younger adults view less TV than older adults is because they spend less time in the home and Nielsen measures viewing in the home," he said.

Even though sampling of new TV shows was off 4% this fall, as measured by television viewing, more people watched new shows via DVRs, VOD or online, he said. Younger viewers are shifting to online and VOD viewing more this season than a year earlier.

CBS’s new drama "Elementary," for example, drew almost half of its on-demand viewing more than one week after the show’s original airdate.

"That is an important statistic given that networks want to be able to show the viability of VOD to advertisers as technology makes it easier to insert new ads into older shows," Flint writes.

We urge you to click on the link above and read Flint’s entire report about Poltrack’s remarks.


  1. I wonder if Poltrack ever tires of being the apologist for the decline of broadcast prime time over the past 15 years. Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

  2. I think you’re absolutely wrong on that one, Doug. The mandated switch to digital broadcasting & the global financial crisis are bringing more viewers back to free, over the air broadcasting. The ones who realize that this is a trend that is only going to grow and take advantage of that fact are really going to clean up. OTA broadcast television could very easily regain some of the dominance it used to enjoy. If we could get the FCC to give a little ground on censorship outside of the “family” hours so productions produced for broadcast TV more effectively compete with some of the cable product and it very well could be a new “golden age” for broadcast TV. The potential is there, all the broadcasters have to do is try to not f**k up the opportunity.

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