The Media Stream: Millennials Are Device Agnostic

Ikea announced yesterday that it’s going to be selling Internet-connected HDTVs that integrate seamlessly into its furniture products. No more cords, and no more periphery devices — instead the TV is loaded with apps and the DVD/Blu-Ray player is integrated into a TV stand cabinet. TechCrunch gives the Uppleva system bonus points because it treats the TV like what it has become, “a glorified monitor.” We can’t help but agree; TVs are simply one of many devices people can use to access a media stream, whether it comes from a cable, an external device, or the Internet.

Millennials are far less interested in traditional television than previous generations. While the TV is the focus of Boomers’ family rooms, only 28% of Millennials agree that they couldn’t live without TV, according to recent Ypulse research. In fact, half of Millennials say they only watch TV when they’re bored.

But clearly Millennials enjoy entertainment and video. The difference is that they’re device agnostic. In a typical week, Millennials over age 18 most commonly watch TV shows on a TV (66%), but 59% also watch TV shows streamed to their computer and 24% watch on a mobile device.

They don’t care much about the screen, so long as there’s a way for them to watch what they want when they want to watch it. They aren’t going to rapidly ditch TVs in favor of watching shows only on their laptops or tablets, but they are going to expect that the next TV they buy will allow them to watch all their favorite shows wherever they may find them — regardless if that’s on cable, Hulu, Netflix, a broadcast network’s website, or some new app or website that’s yet to be invented.

Moreover, like their computers and phones, their TV sets are going to be multimedia hubs. They’ll expect to be able to stream music from Pandora, Spotify, YouTube, and the Web. Afterall, they can do those things from other screens, so why not from their TVs? If Millennials can’t use their TV sets to access any stream of media, the device becomes useless in comparison to their phones and computers. It’s time for TVs to get “Millennial-ized.”

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