'The Big Bang Theory'

"The Big Bang Theory" is popular online. (CBS / December 9, 2013)

CBS has seen online viewing of its programming grow by 40% this season, further proof that more people are embracing watching content platforms other than the television set.

"Changes that have occurred in TV viewing in last two years are more significant than changes that have occurred in the past 20 years," said CBS chief research officer David Poltrack.

Speaking at the annual UBS Global and Media Communications Conference in New York on Monday, Poltrack said the growth of the streaming option is allowing "the elusive younger audience access to the network's programming." Poltrack said the streaming audience is 16 years younger than the network's typical broadcast viewer.

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Episodes of both "How I Met Your Mother" and "The Big Bang Theory" have already been streamed more than 1 million times during the first four weeks of this season.

Poltrack also noted that more viewers are embracing video-on-demand (VOD) as a way to watch television and catch up on episodes of shows that they missed.

"VOD is already increasing the average audience for our prime time programming by 4%," he said, adding that for the critically acclaimed drama "The Good Wife," that figure jumps to 9%. So far this season, CBS has seen VOD for its shows grow almost 60%.

Viewers also continue to embrace digital video recorders, which Poltrack expected to surpass 50% household penetration in the near future. According to his presentation, DVR usage is up 15% in the last two years and 20% among older adults.

While some have expressed concern that DVR use is cutting into live TV viewing of broadcast shows, Poltrack said research has shown that only 22% of DVR use is in prime time while 35% is during the weekend. 

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Follow Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint.