Defending its methodology, Nielsen Media Research claimed that while young men are watching less TV this season, "there is no evidence" that they have abruptly abandoned the medium.
In a memo to its clients Tuesday, Nielsen said primetime viewership for men 18-34 in the National People Meter sample is, in fact, down from 8%-12% this year. That falloff has prompted cries and complaints from officials at the broadcast networks, who are asking where all the young male viewers are going.
In response, Nielsen said it checked and rechecked its systems to be sure data were being calculated correctly, and "we found no systemic errors."
The research company’s analysis to date has found that young men are in fact watching less primetime TV this year than last. In fact, Nielsen said, primetime viewing levels for men 18-34 have been declining for the past 10 years, with the exception of 2001 and 2002.
Nielsen also maintained that there has been an increase in video-game usage among men during primetime, and that increased DVD viewing may also be siphoning males from television at night.