Media Tracker: How Millennials & Teens’ Viewing Changed This Year

We track 13-34-year-olds’ media consumption habits throughout the year, and today we’re looking back at what shifted in 2016…

In our trend The Post-TV Gen, available to Gold subscribers tomorrow, we found eight in 10 Millennials and teens predict that digital services will eventually replace cable and satellite programming. We’ve watched their Post-TV behavior develop in real time, thanks to our monthly surveys of 1000 13-34-year-olds, which include a quarterly media consumption tracker. This year, cable has lost even more of its grip on these next generation viewers. Throughout 2016 we’ve seen a slow but steady decline in cable / satellite / fiber optic TV consumption of video content weekly by 13-33-year-olds, coasting from 48% in late January to 45% in early September. Netflix, on the other hand has grown significantly, rising from 67% to 72%, becoming the top service being used by Millennials and teens to watch video content, followed by YouTube. In fact, when we asked what networks they watch, Netflix is the top “network” watched monthly for both teens and older Millennials. 

But we’ve also seen the screens that they view this content on shift significantly. As evidenced by our own research, focusing on mobile video consumption is key to reaching young consumers, as TV and its traditional offerings slowly loses its grip on them. When it comes to the devices that 13-33-year-olds use to watch video content weekly, TV-based video content consumption has been flat through the year, and in our September media tracker Topline Report, their smartphone was the number one device that young consumers are watching video content on each week, followed by laptop, and HD TV.

Mobile has definitely taken on a bigger role in young consumers’ weekly video consumption this year. At the beginning of 2016, laptops were the top device for weekly consumption among 13-33-year-olds at 65%, with smartphones coming in second at 55%. But in the September tracker smartphones were chosen by 67% of 13-33-year-olds as a video content consumption device, overtaking laptops at 63%. Currently, those who are viewing content on TV weekly are devoting more concentrated time to that screen, but smartphone and laptop viewing hours are beginning to rival the set: 

Half of those watching on smartphones weekly are watching 1-4 hours of content on the device, and one quarter are watching 5-10 hours on their smallest screen, a significant amount. 

So, is TV as we know it dead? Not yet, but it’s no longer the main source of entertainment for today’s young consumers—we’re reaching the point of the Post-TV Gen. Six in 10 young consumers say, “I don't know what I would do without streaming services” like Netflix, which now captures more teen and Millennial audience power than cable services. The rise of these services over traditional cable has definitely been driven largely by demand for digital video among Millennials and teens. 

Gold subscribers can access the full September media tracker Topline Report referenced in this post here, and our most recent media tracker survey and report here. Click here to contact us if you are interested in gaining access to our media consumption tracker and our other monthly survey data. 

To download the PDF version of this insight article, click here.

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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “My 2017 resolution is YOLO life...Don't be afraid to take a chance, to fail, and then try again.”—Female, 20, NY

Professional Millennials are turning to apps and loved ones for financial advice—but they still aren’t reaching their goals. A study by finance company SoFi found that 25-34-year-olds are most likely to turn to significant others as a resource for money matters, followed by family, then “nobody,” followed by financial advisors. Almost 40% are using apps and digital tools for personal finance a few times a month or more, but despite their efforts, 38.4% say they were less than successful in accomplishing financial goals last year—indicating that they could use more help. (SoFi

Netflix has turned itself into a must-have for TV viewers. Hub Entertainment Research recently asked U.S. consumers what TV sources they would keep if they could only have three, and found that 36% chose Netflix, followed by ABC at 20%, and then CBS at 18%. For 16-24-year-olds, Netflix is “even more indispensable,” with 56% choosing the streaming service as one of their three—almost three times more than their second choice, ABC at 19%. Our Binge Effect trend found that 64% of 13-33-year-olds are using Netflix the most for binge-watching content.  (Digital TV Europe

University students in the U.K. value good grades more than privacy. A new study from digital learning platform Kortext found that almost half of students agree they would get better grades if their lecturers were able to track their study habits and progress throughout the year, and a whopping nine out of ten would be happy to let their universities use analytics to track their weekly progress to achieve better marks. Growing up in the digital era has made younger consumers more open to sharing information than previous generations—which we covered in our The Privacy Issue trend. (Forbes)

Millennial-owned businesses are feeling really good about 2017. A recent Yelp survey revealed that the majority of businesses had a good 2016, with 68% saying their business performance met or exceeded their expectations. The majority of Millennial business owners felt the 2016 political climate benefit for their businesses, and they were more likely to say it had a positive effect than older respondents. They’re also expecting 69% more revenue growth than their older counterparts for 2017. (Small Business TrendsYelp)

Sesame Street’s Count von Count is a rare find—children are not hearing many foreign accents in their entertainment. An analysis of kids’ TV shows found that out of 282 characters, only 21 were foreign, and “in terms of personality traits, [the] foreign characters were more bad, aggressive and uncultured than non-foreign characters.” According to a Pew report, second generation immigrants make up 11% of the entire U.S. population, and our Diversity Tipping Point trend, revealed that 52% of 13-33-year-olds don’t feel entertainment media does a good job of representing minority groups. (The Guardian

Quote of the Day: “My 2017 resolution is to improve my dog's confidence- She's somewhat fearful.”—Female, 28, PA

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