According to a latest study,  the “video diet” of today’s 13-24 year olds is no longer just a snack – it has become an around-the-clock smorgasbord. Research by Defy Media indicates that this age group are consuming social video across a range of new platforms, and an overabundance of mobile devices. For this demographic, video has become more than an amusement or a way to pass time; it’s a tool that connects young people to friends and family and helps them manage the ups-and-downs of everyday life.

Social Video: Keeping Millennials Connected

Research carried out by Defy in 2015 confirmed that, to the surprise of no-one, that 13-24 year olds were watching more YouTube than TV, and that they identified with stars of online video far more than they did with traditional TV or movie personalities.  The 2016 study takes a deeper-dive into the video consumption of today’s youth, and seeks to understand the impact of video in young adults’ everyday lives, how each video source is used, and if advertising impacts use of any particular sources.

It found that the needs of video content went well beyond the entertainment factor, it also educated, became a source of stress relief, and keeps young people connected and included among their peer group. When it comes to advertising, young adults are as turned off as their older counterparts when it comes to being over-sold to, although they are willing to site through ads they find entertaining.

85% of Young Adults Watch Video via YouTube

Now, I’m just spit-balling here, but I’m guessing that the folks at Defy Media sat down to write this year’s report, which is entitled, “Youth Video Diet,” just before lunch, because it’s filled with extended food metaphors. For example, check out the image below entitled, “Digital Dominates the Menu.” It shows that 85% of young people watch video on YouTube, 66% on Netflix, 62% on cable/satellite TV, and 53% on Facebook.

Teenagers watching more YouTube and Netflix than TV

When it comes to video, the data also shows that the average young person consumes 12.1 hours per  week of “free” digital video, and many consume an additional 8.8 hours of subscription digital video. Television garners just 8.2 hours weekly, with far fewer 13-24 year olds watching it compared to digital.

Although social video is the new kid on the block, it’s more than a snack at 5.9 hours weekly. These hours exclude videos made by family or friends, because most of Gen Z are watching digital stars (25%) , or videos from people they don’t personally know (25%). Only 15 of those surveyed confirmed that watched videos uploaded by friends and family on social platforms:

Teenagers and social video

There’s one entitled, “Digital Video Tastes Better.” Hey, you can’t make this stuff up. Last year’s “Constant Content” study showed digital is preferred by youth over TV because it better suits their lifestyles and has more relatable content. This year’s “Youth Video Diet” study continues to see cable/satellite TV consumption decline with age and an uptick in use of subscription and free digital video.

Youths prefer online video to tv

And there’s another one entitled, “Youth Would Starve without Video.” YouTube is a vital video source for young people, but the phrase, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” exists for a reason – advertising. So, what’s youths’ take on advertising as a trade-off for free video? According to Taylor, who is 16, “I don’t think I can live without YouTube because like, everything is on there!”

teenagers can't live without youtube

Digital Celebrities: Branded Collabs are Working

Young adults in America look up to digital celebrities and are more open to understanding how advertising helps these stars continue to create the content they want to watch. But the online star must stay authentic to their original character and audience base otherwise the collaboration may fail.

Teenagers love digital celebrities

There’s plenty more if you are still hungry for more. But, if I were you, I wouldn’t try to digest more data on an empty stomach.