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How Over Half of Gen Z & Millennials Are Using TV & Video Like Medicine

Our new trend report Content Cure uncovers how young consumers are increasingly using content as an intentional mood-altering fix…

This year the New York Times began selling ads based on emotion—a type of targeting that has 1.4x higher click-thru-rates than other ad types. Through machine learning, the publication is able to predict how readers would feel after reading an article, allowing advertisers to home in on specific moods like “self-confidence” or “adventurousness.” Tapping into the emotions of consumers and delivering empathetic product experiences can be a goldmine for brands—especially as Gen Z and Millennials increasingly use content as mood-altering medicine.

The world is a chaotic place right now, according to more than three in four Gen Z and Millennials. Between existential crises like climate change and individual struggles like crushing student debt, it is unsurprising that more than half of 13-36-year-olds tell YPulse they are in a constant state of stress. In our recently released trend report, Content Cure, we looked into how the intentional choice of content plays a role in young consumers’ self-care. When we ask young consumers what their cures for unhappiness are, listening to music is their top response, and watching a TV show/movie ranks third—making it a more popular cure than comfort food, exercise, time with friends, social media, or shopping. As we told you earlier this week, many are choosing specific content to deal with, and escape, negative feelings. Online, wholesome, pure memes and stories are trending as an antidote to negativity, and ASMR content is only growing more popular by physically helping people relax. Then there’s the blissful binge effect of streaming services and TV. Our research found that 61% of 13-36-year-olds are using TV shows/videos like medicine to treat different moods, and Netflix is a top go-to source of content when they are stressed or overwhelmed.

More than half of 13-36-year-olds tell YPulse they have specific entertainment they turn to when they’re in a specific mood—and brands are starting to take note of these mood-filtering behaviors. Although streaming giant Netflix doesn’t tailor suggestions by a viewer’s emotions yet, of the 3,000+ micro-genres in its library, 57 are described as “emotional”, 56 that are “feel-good”, and 18 are “tearjerkers.”

To understand more about how young consumers are choosing content based on mood, and what it means for brands, download our full Content Cure report, and check out our infographic for a brief spotlight on the trend: