How Millennials & Gen Z Like to Watch TV, in 3 Charts

“TV” doesn’t mean what it once did. So what do young consumers even consider watching TV these days—and how do they prefer to do it?

We often call Gen Z and Millennials the Post-TV Gens–not because they’re ditching TV content, in fact, they can’t get enough of it, but because they’re growing up in a time that the definition of “TV” has completely shifted from what it once was. And as the early adopters of new TV, if you will, they’re the ones fueling the changes from traditional to new media. Even the phrase “TV show” doesn’t mean what it once did. Quartz recently asked the question, “Should we keep calling it TV if no one’s watching it on a TV set?” Since most of what we call “TV” is technically viewed via the internet, executives and creators both are re-thinking their vernacular. What words are winning out in the etymological war? Well, linguists think outdated words (like TV) will stick around for a while (we still say, “dialing a phone,” don’t we?) along with words that are generic enough to hold their meaning, like “shows” and “series.” But the Post-TV Gen’s concept of what these words mean may be more broad than those following more traditional definitions.

Traditional metrics are also playing catch up in a post-TV world. According to AdAge, Nielsen says they finally have a way to measure Netflix viewership—but Netflix says they’re way off base. Nielsen claims they can keep track of all viewing on the platform, including originals, “whether or not a studio or network wants them to.” Netflix claims, “The data that Nielsen is reporting is not accurate, not even close, and does not reflect the viewing of these shows on Netflix.” Ouch.

With all the confusion around preferences and terminology, brands can understandably get lost. So what do young consumers even consider watching…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“I eat [Pizza Hut] least two times per month; it's one of my favorite places to go to eat pizza.”—Male, 35, VA

More Millennials are asking for cash wedding registries, and it’s bad news for stores like Bed Bath & Beyond and Williams Sonoma. Increasingly, young couples are asking guests to contribute towards their nest egg, travel, or anything they feel like buying themselves. Companies like Zola and Honeypot have boomed in popularity, offering a personalized platform for their cash registries. However, their success with wedding registries is taking “a key customer acquisition tool” away from home décor stores. (Insider)

The beauty industry is catering to Customization Nation, as more companies crop up to blend unique beauty products for each customer. But can the trend scale? Truly personalized products, like the ones offered by hair care start-up Function of Beauty and makeup company Bite Beauty, take time and resources. But companies that offer base products with just a personalized element or two could be the future of the industry. And big-name brands are getting their feet wet too: Lancôme and CoverGirl have both offered custom-made foundations. (Glossy)

Nordstrom is taking risks to survive retail’s big shifts. Instead of shuttering stores, they’re opening experimental retail locations, revamping their department stores, and making their mark in Manhattan with their first store openings. The long-standing brand also bought ecommerce site HauteLook and the subscription service Trunk Club. So far, their risk-taking hasn’t proved to be a boon to their bottom line—but only time will tell. (WSJ)

Hollister is teaming up with AwesomenessTV to reach Gen Z with a YouTube series. “The Carpe Life” will be a part of a broader campaign, which includes influencer marketingand appeals to young consumers’ love for active, adventurous lifestyles. "The Carpe Life" follows Hollister's first YouTube series, “This is Summer” which “boosted key brand metrics by double digits,” adding on to their overall positive impact on Abercrombie & Fitch’s rising bottom line. (Marketing Dive)

Netflix is switching its strategy, putting less money into “prestige films” for the Post-TV Gen. Instead, they’re churning out more direct-to-video releases. Last year, they bought ten titles at Sundance while this year they had none. While they continue to create original content like the recent The Cloverfield Paradox, they’re betting on less-than-award-worthy films to maintain their hold on Millennial viewers. (The Atlantic)

“Basically if I found out any brand was supporting causes I do not support and actively oppose, I will avoid buying their products.”—Female, 27, CA

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