Web Users Bond With Shows

NEW YORK While conventional wisdom says that network television is rapidly losing viewers’ attention to the Internet, the most connected Web users tend to become more attached to their favorite prime-time hits, according to new figures released by CBS’ research department.

CBS said a rapidly growing “fully connected” segment of the media universe—boasting both broadband access and digital TVs—is the group most likely to watch the top broadcast shows.

This group, which CBS claims has grown nearly 10 percent to encompass 30 percent of the overall population in the past year, is also more likely to visit network Web sites and watch streaming shows on the Internet.

Thus, it seems that the proliferations of distribution platforms is helping early adopters connect with programs on a deeper level, rather than abandon TV, CBS has concluded.

“This data clearly show a correlation between connectivity and prime-time television viewing,” said network research chief David Poltrack, who authored the new report.

“Consumers who embrace the new media are the heaviest viewers of the top network prime-time programs, and this sector of the audience is growing. By offering them new ways to connect to their favorite shows, whether it’s Web sites, podcasts, ringtones or other mobile features, we’ve been able to deepen the bond these fully connected viewers have with our programming,” he said.

CBS contends that the networks’ recent flood of such offerings is quickly becoming ingrained in the public consciousness. More than half of those surveyed by CBS (55 percent) said they knew that full episodes of network shows were available on the Web, and 45 percent have already streamed at least one show.