13-24 Year Olds Watching More YouTube Than TV – To The Surprise of No-one

13-24 Year Olds Watching More YouTube Than TV – To The Surprise of No-one

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In a rare moment the other day I found myself watching some television during the day for an hour and it was excruciatingly painful. It felt like every channel was going to commercial at the same time and what I was watching was more about passing the time than delving deep into a single show. I actually found myself getting angry at being forced to sit through more than 5 seconds of ads and changed the channel constantly to avoid them. If, like me, you identify yourself as a Millennial, then a new report from Defy media on the viewing habits of 13-24 year-olds should match up very well to how you consume media in the digital era.

The young are turning away from the TV and towards online video, and they are consuming more digital content than ever. Not only are they in charge of the media they consume, but they consider YouTube Influencers more relatable than traditional TV and movie stars.

Millennials and Online Video Consumption: The Death of TV?

online video consumption 13 to 24 year olds13-24 are consuming less hours of traditional TV broadcast content, and watching more online content, from sites like YouTube. In fact, 96% of that age group consume online video via social media sites for an average of 11 hours per week. In contrast, only 81% of 13-24 year olds tune into the TV to watch scheduled programmes, and then only for around 8 hours per week.

  • 13-24 year-olds are watching 11.3 hours of free online video per week from sites like YouTube
  • The same age group are watching 10.8 hours of paid-for (subscription) online video per week, but only catch up with 8.3 hours of scheduled TV per week.
  • 63% of millennials believe television content carries too many commercials, while only 41% feel the internet carries too many ads

YouTube Stars are the New Influencers

The younger viewers are, the more likely they identify with YouTube stars more than TV/movie stars with an astounding 59% of 13 year olds following them on social media vs. only 32% for TV/Movie stars. It may not seem like a big deal now, but the youth of today is growing up with the stars of today on the devices they use the most and it’s not television.

  • In a recent study by Variety magazine, 6 out of the top 10 influencers for 13-18 year olds were YouTube stars
  • Both YouTube and TV/Movie stars scored well for aspirational traits like “has unique talents” or “someone I look up to”
  • YouTube stars were more often described with traits that show high relatability like “just like me” or “someone I trust”

youtube influencers

You are Not Alone: Millennials are Never ‘Off-Line’

If you were to ask your parents what it means to be alone the answer may be starkly different from the one you would get from your children or peers. The notion of alone and sharing is different to those exposed to online content and social media at a young age, according the report.

Millennials do not see life as ever being “offline” and actually fear the internet going down, as that is the only way they are cut off and alone. So long as the internet is up and active the opportunity exists to share content and according to the report, sharing photos and videos create the same life experiences that would normally be associated with things done in person. Connections no longer have to happen in person, they can happen online.

Thumbstoppers: Content That Catches Attention

That’s a new term for me. Probably because I do the majority of my viewing on a desktop device. But for those who do their viewing with a mobile device, it’s more likely they scroll through content with their thumb and finding the right way to get them to stop on your content is hugely important. The top 3 thumbstoppers are:

  • 59% – liked or viewed by many people
  • 58% – sent by someone they respect
  • 55% – something that happened to people they know

The best vehicles for delivery of content to 13-24 year olds are Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, although the younger viewers have their attention split somewhat equal across other social media platforms as well.

TV Lags Well Behind Digital Content for the Young

One of the most telling statistics from the report is of particular value to marketers. More than 60% of all respondents said they would try a product or brand suggested by a YouTuber. Conversely, TV/Movie stars topped out at 49% for the 18-24 demographic, going all the way down to 43% for 13 year olds.

  • 96% of 13-24 year-olds watch online video with only 81% watching scheduled TV and 56% recorded TV
  • The general consensus of the report indicated that viewers prefer media that they can watch when they want that is easily relatable, makes them feel good and has ads that can be ignored.

What this report does is confirm what we already know. Millennials are putting increasing importance and trust in YouTube personalities. Online and social media are shaping the way they see the world like never before.


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