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 saw some heartbreaking stories in the internet, and decided to look up some international charities and donate to them.”—Male, 20, WA

Magazine covers aren’t dying in the age of digital—even when publications go out of print. Digital-only covers are “captur[ing] the print magazine's tangible essence” while building hype for media brands on social media (especially Instagram). PorterComplexNylonGQ and more publications have taken on the trend, featuring celebrities like Chance the Rapper to Sophie Turner. For magazines looking for a comeback with young consumers, digital-only covers can “translate their own brand for the web." (Fashionista)

Following “a series of scandals,” YouTube is taking major steps to overhaul its video review process and ad placement policies. The new guidelines “kick tens of thousands of video makers out” of the ad program by requiring anyone who generates ad revenue to produce 4,000 hours of content and gain 1,000 subscribers in one year, upping the ante from the previous requirement of 10,000 lifetime views. YouTube is also promising to manually review every video in its top tier of advertising (Google Preferred), and they’ve hired 10,000 new employees in the last year to get the job done. (recode)

Some Millennial parents are applying their minimalist tendencies to their kids’ toy chests to battle play clutter with “toy limitation.” It’s not a new concept—some schools of thought that have “advocate[d] simple, open-ended toys” include Montessori, Waldorf, and RIE—and today’s advocates say limiting toys can improve focus and happiness. A report from the University of Toledo concluded that toddlers “played ‘better’” when given fewer toys, meaning they played with each toy for longer and in more creative ways. However, some parents worry that they’re “denying [their children’s] self-expression” when they limit toys, and so the debate continues. (Slate)

Tostitos is giving fans their very own personalized Super Bowl ads to invite friends to their game parties. The platform takes a user's name, address, and other invite info and spins it into a video perfect for Customization Nation. Each ad features a different combination of Super Bowl clichés, including a “talking baby, puppies, sassy older women, [and] a celebrity pitchman.” Considering Ypulse data shows 64% of 13-34-year-olds watched some or all of the 2017 Super Bowl with friends and family, it’s a safe bet at least some will be sending out invites, possibly with some Tostitos product placement this year. (Adweek)

Facebook’s new feature lets Groups co-view each other’s content. “Watch Party” allows Group admins to show any Facebook video to members simultaneously, and to comment on a “dedicated reel” for a “shared viewing experience.” The feature is another step towards the platform’s new goal to “encourage meaningful social interactions,” and their new focus on Groups. The push for social viewing could possibly be integrated into other aspects of Facebook and its properties, like group chats. (TechCrunch)

“I plan to go to a free barre class at a local studio that is offering them as part of a New Year's promotion.”—Female, 33, MA

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