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

“I don't spend money, really on anything. I enjoy video games and will enjoy getting video games, but I receive as gifts from grandparents, parents”—Female, 14, IA

Airbnb is booming in Africa, where young travelers are “looking for culture rather than comfort.” Over two million people have used Airbnb in Africa to book vacation accommodations in the last five years, reportedly earning African hosts $139 million in just the past year. Wanderlusting Millennials are pushing themselves out of their comfort zones to discover new places, rather than retread old ground, and locales like Africa are getting a boost because of it. (Quartz)

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. Regardless, Nielsen’s move is a step in the right direction to measure what The Post-TV Genis watching, and has “direct implications for the ad business.” (MediaPostAdAgeFortune)

Influencers are using Instagram’s new polling feature, beating brands to the punch. Influencer network Blog Lovin’ found that 66% of their followers (many of which are influencers) had already used polling, while 87% plan to in the future. Polling is not only an opportunity to engage with customers but a way for brands to “[ask] for feedback about products, creat[e] engagement around topics that are in the media and [conduct] market research.” But brands have been slow to ask influencers to use the new story feature for promotions or to utilize the feature on their standalone accounts. (Glossy)

High school students are increasingly taking college courses—but little is known about whether it will benefit them. Thanks to dual-enrollment programs, which are expanding rapidly, students can get a head start on college credits, cutting down on the cost of higher education. Some also argue that Advanced Placement courses are more rigorous, and worthier of students’ extra effort. However, the impacts of programs on “a diverse set of students” is not yet known. (WSJ)

Kids have online influencers too, and they’re pushing branded toys to devoted viewers. Unboxing videos on YouTube are not a new phenomenon, but kid stars unboxing toys are getting brands’ attention as a way to leverage The Influencer Effect. MGA Entertainment, the world’s largest private toy company, pivoted 90% of their ad spend to digital in 2014 and report the strategy is paying off. Studies show children’s attention is switching from cable to YouTube, and influencers help brands reach a “much more engaged smaller audience” and give them “that potential for virality.” (Bloomberg)

"I love coffee and love the experience of having someone make me a nice latte. I like being around other people and hanging out in restaurants or cafes.”—Female, 20, PA

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