The digital divide continues to grow as the all important 18-34-year-old demographic continues to move away from standard broadcast television in favor of online and time-shifted video, says a new report from market researcher Morpace. How much? Just over 40% of their viewing time is now spent watching live TV versus time-shifted and online content.

The separation in TV viewing is more noticeable in that demographic. The report states that among all viewers the average ‘TV time’ is 52% of total viewing. That holds true in the 35-54 age group who claimed 51% of viewing is TV, over 55 viewers said they prefer TV and 64% of their viewing time is spent on it. With marketers and advertisers aiming for that all important 18-34 demographic it sure seems like advertising budgets are going to need to take this into account and start moving to where these viewers get their content, namely online.

Online ruled as the most popular alternative source with 16% of viewing time and DVDs were close behind at 15%. DVR pulled in a hefty 12% which means lots of potential for lost revenue and ad watching for television advertisers. Almost one-half of all viewers turn to online for their video content while 23% overall used a streaming service for computer, mobile device and TV viewing.

I have seen some terms tossed about recently like digital natives and millennials. With names like that is it any wonder that they prefer to watch video in some alternative form to that their parents and grandparents choose?

I am in no way saying television is dead. But it is most certainly having a dramatic shift in its demographic as more and more alternatives spring up and the younger audience gets more and more comfortable with new video technology. The next round of televisions will be Internet-connected devices, which will certainly increase the number of eyes on time, but it could also work to further erode traditional television as the mainstay of video entertainment by combining non-broadcast sources into the mix.

As Mark Robertson (our publisher) puts it:

5-10 years from now, we wont be discussing TV vs. online vs. mobile.  Rather, it will simply be “the screen” that consumers use to consume the moving picture.  Video is video, it is powerful, and it will remain so, regardless of the platform for delivery, because video is the most compelling way to tell a story.