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

“As a graphic designer, without the arts being available to me in school I would have been lost as a child and where to take my career path. The fact that schools are cutting art programs is heartbreaking.”—Female, 24, NJ

Applebee’s is putting down the sriracha and giving up on trying to appeal to Millennials. The brand has decided their newer menu items—like a “triple pork bonanza” sandwich—and attempt at a “modern bar and grill” reinvention has “alienate[d]” Boomers and Gen Xers. They’re shutting down more than 130 restaurants and bringing back initiatives from before their attempted “pendulum swing towards millennials,” all-you-can-eat specials and 2-for-$20 deals. Other brands are creating new spin off chains to appeal to fast-casual lovingMillennials, that “[lack] the associated baggage of the old.” (Inc, NPR)

Adults-only ball pits, bouncy houses, and giant slides are sweeping the U.K. Millennials seeking a break from adulthood are flocking to places like Wacky World’s “massive bouncy-castle obstacle course,” which started out as a children’s event. The founder received so many requests that now every event has an 18-and-over slot, and has expanded to 19 cities. This “trend for arrested development activities” is caused by nostalgia, but the influx of marketing and branding leveraging the emotion could be popularizing these playgrounds for adults. (The Guardian)

Facebook is responding to the trend of asking for birthday charitable donations by integrating it right into the platform. Users in the U.S. can now trade in all the “HBD”s they get on Facebook for donations to the cause of their choice: well-wishers will be notified of the birthday along with the selected non-profit, and get the chance to donate. Facebook will ask users which charity they wish to dedicate their day to two weeks in advance, allowing them to choose from 750,000 organizations. (TNW)

Appear Here is the Airbnb of pop-up shops, giving brands their perfect temporary store for the new era of retail. The company finds short term retail space, and has worked with big-name brands like Nike and Net-a-Porter to open “experimental activations” or “test new products.” As brick-and-mortar continues to suffer and long-term stores close, Appear Here says physical retail is still needed, but to “tell a story.” The pop-up industry was valued at $50 billion in 2015, and provides a more low-risk, flexible option to avoid the retail wasteland. (Glossy)

Millennials & Gen Z are turning a profit online and on mobile by re-selling their retail. Thredup, Poshmark, and Depop are just a few of the most popular brands cashing in on the resale economy’s $18 billion market, and some shoppers say they are making $300 a week on the platforms. Some are also using social to sell, often in conjunction with apps or sites, including Snapchat, Facebook Groups, and Instagram. College students on a budget are reportedly especially drawn to resale, thanks to convenience, value, and access to luxury at a lower price. (FN)

“Adult means being entirely independent. I pay my own bills, make all decisions in my life, and feel very in control.”—Male, 20, NY

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