Nielsen reports ‘stunning’ 10.6% drop in Millennial TV viewership

Nearly 20% fewer Millennials watched traditional TV between September and January than they did four years ago, Nielsen figures showed, a decline that industry experts said was unprecedented and “stunning.”

According to the ratings firm, the decline in traditional TV viewing by Millennials more than doubled from around 4% per year through 2012, to 10.6% between September and January, the New York Post reported.

“The change in behavior is stunning,” Alan Wurtzel, NBCUniversal’s audience research chief, told The Post. “I’ve never seen that kind of change in behavior.”

Nielsen said 17.8 million adults watched traditional TV at the end of January, down from 21.7 million in 2011.

NBCUniversal’s Wurtzel, meanwhile, said SVoD viewing is on the rise, up some 22% in the past year.

As more video options come on line – HBOGo is scheduled for April, for example – it’s likely that number will continue to increase.

But, measuring those viewing increases and the way video is consumed – especially those that occur on mobile devices or offline – is difficult, with Nielsen and comScore only offering partial solutions currently.

And, as brands and advertising agencies commit more cash to digital advertising, executives are looking for new ways to measure impact.

At last week’s Digital Entertainment World in Los Angeles, for example, ad execs talked about relying less on metrics provided by Nielsen and comScore, and more on watching to see the impact of a campaign, to watch whether it “moved the brand needle.”

And, they said, analytics derived from content delivered digitally will play a much greater role in the ad-buying process.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn