You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

CBS Makes Up to 20% More Ad Revenue Online Than TV per Viewer: Research Chief

CBS, like every other TV network, is seeing audiences increasingly shift to Internet viewing of programming — and that’s been a good thing for the Eye, according to chief research officer David F. Poltrack.

“We actually make more money per viewer streaming than we do on television,” Poltrack said Tuesday at the 2014 Media & Entertainment Industry Forum in New York, presented by the IESE Business School and Variety. “If you stream our programming online, you’re seeing a full complement of advertising — you can’t bypass it.”

On average, CBS generates 10% to 20% more ad dollars per viewer from Internet-streamed programs than TV. Poltrack expects that to differential to increase even more later in 2014 because of a dearth of inventory for premium video online: “There’s been a flight to quality this year. Demand for our online video is through the roof.”

For CBS shows streamed online, such as “The Good Wife” (pictured, above), viewers can’t fast-forward through the ads. That also means that brand recall and recognition rates are higher for Internet video than TV, Poltrack said.

Of course, one of the big reasons ad rates for premium Internet-streamed video are higher than TV is because the online audiences are smaller — and hence, harder to reach. Online audiences also skew toward younger viewers, which are a more desirable target for marketers.

In addition, TV ad spending is far greater than digital-video advertising today, although the Internet segment is growing as a faster rate (from a smaller base). TV advertising in the U.S. will grow 3.3% in 2014 to $68.54 billion, while digital-video ad spending will increase 41.9% to reach $5.96 billion, according to a recent study from eMarketer.

According to Poltrack, the top 30 TV programs today overall have the same size audience as the top 30 in 2000. The difference today, he said, is that “it’s just not all on the television set in the living room.”

The majority of TV viewing is still live on television, but it’s been shrinking. In the first quarter of 2014, 80% of TV viewing was live, compared with 89% in 2011 among adults 18 and older, according to Nielsen data.

Poltrack, as he’s inclined to do, discounted pundits who have predicted that the rise of Internet video will damage the TV biz. In a December survey commissioned by CBS, 28% of respondents said they were watching more TV than  a year earlier, while 55% said their viewing was about the same and 17% said they were watching less.

Up until recently, consumers were more likely to say they were watching less television, in spite of the fact that Nielsen data showed time spent viewing TV was increasing. “It used to be a more ‘socially correct’ statement to say you were watching less television,” Poltrack said. “Today, I would argue, it’s ‘socially correct’ to say you’re watching more television.”

As for the trend of younger consumers watching less television, Poltrack said that’s been a recurring theme over the past 40 years. “The reason (younger people) watch less TV is because they are not home as much — and as we get older, we spend more time at home,” he said.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Viacom Channels Grab 'Seinfeld' Cable Rerun

    Viacom Channels Grab 'Seinfeld' Cable Rerun Rights

    Viacom has sealed a deal with Sony Pictures Television for the cable rights to “Seinfeld” starting in October 2021. The deal comes on the heels of a blockbuster new deal between Sony and Netflix for the streaming rights to the beloved NBC sitcom that also begins in 2021. “Seinfeld” reruns have been a staple of [...]

  • Soho House

    Soho House Lands In Downtown Los Angeles

    Warner Music, Spotify and Lyft are poised to welcome a new neighbor to downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District with Soho Warehouse, the third California outpost of the Hollywood-loved members-only club — and the largest North American opening to date. Hot on the heels of the Soho House Hong Kong debut earlier this summer, the private [...]

  • Elite Season 2

    San Sebastian: Spain’s SVOD Players Debate Competition, Brand, Talent

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — Executives from HBO, Netflix, Amazon and Movistar+ and “Elite” co-creator Darío Madrona took to the stage to field questions on the Global Impact of Spanish Series. Here, briefly, are five takeaways: 1.Spain First “La Casa de Papel” was watched by 34,355,956 Netflix accounts over its first seven days,  after a July 19 [...]

  • Samsung Makes Bid to Keep Viewers

    Samsung Makes Bid to Keep Viewers From Skipping Fox Ad Breaks

    Fox is hoping to knit together the seconds-long divide between a TV program and the commercials that support it. During ad breaks for a few football broadcasts, tomorrow’s run of the Emmys and Wednesday’s season premiere of “The Masked Singer,” the network will kick off ad sessions with special show promos that display artistic renderings [...]

  • Patria

    HBO Europe Unveils ‘Patria’ Footage to Captive San Sebastian Audience

    SAN SEBASTIAN — Amid large expectation, HBO Europe has revealed first footage giving a first sense of tone and pace of its Spanish original series “Patria.” A packed-to-overflowing press conference on Saturday morning at the San Sebastian Festival can be read as one sign of the potential popularity of the eight-part series. The panel sneak-peek [...]

  • Topic Studios

    Layoffs Hit Topic Studios as TV Division Relocates to West Coast (EXCLUSIVE)

    A small round of layoffs has hit Topic Studios this week in the television division, insiders familiar with the company told Variety. One of the insiders said three executives at the New York-based producer and distributor are out: senior vice president of scripted programming and Viacom alum Lisa Leingang, vice president of development Mona Panchal [...]

  • Peter Weber and Mike Johnson

    'The Bachelor's' Mike Johnson on Diversity and New Leading Man Peter Weber

    ABC named its newest star of “The Bachelor” this week, officially making Peter Weber the leading man for Season 24 of the long-running dating show. Social media backlash ensued following the announcement due to ABC’s selection lacking diversity, yet again. Since the dating franchise began in 2002, there has been only one “Bachelorette” of color [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content