Younger viewers catch up on TV via Web

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NEW YORK -- Younger viewers spend more time trying to use technology to catch up on TV shows they've missed than older viewers, according to a new study by The Nielsen Co.

The study said that 56% of adults 18-34 catch up on shows they missed using digital video recorders, streaming Web video or other methods; the number dropped to 21% for viewers older than 55. Older viewers will wait for reruns to see an episode they missed, Nielsen said. Among all viewers, watching with a DVR is the most popular alternative (29%) compared to 26% who said they'd wait for the repeat play.

The study was conducted among 1,500 adults at the CBS Television City facility in Las Vegas; CBS did not conduct the study. It found that watching TV shows via the Internet was the choice among 7% of adults, 16% among viewers 18-34 and only 5% of adults 35-54 and 2% of adults 55+.

Nielsen said that in the future, viewers will take the initiative to use technology to catch up on their shows,

"This will have tremendous implications on how networks schedule and distribute programming," said Steve McGowan, senior vp of client research initiatives.

"The bottom line is that younger people are more adept at finding content," CBS Vision President David Poltrack told The Hollywood Reporter at Tuesday's UBS conference in midtown Manhattan. But he said that as time goes on, older viewers will also use the technology in greater numbers.

At the same time, the Nielsen study found that ABC.com is the most popular destination for viewers looking for streaming full episodes. Fifty% said they watched ABC.com compared to 41% for NBC.com, 37% for CBS.com, 24% for Fox.com and 17% for YouTube. Only 15% turned to iTunes for the video.

The panel was heavy with DVR owners, with 46% of the 1,500 having a DVR compared to Nielsen's current TV sample of 20%. But 60% of the DVR owners used it to keep current with their shows.
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