Millennials Watch Less TV, Use Smartphones and Tablets for Video Viewing [Report]

Millennials Watch Less TV, Use Smartphones and Tablets for Video Viewing [Report]

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YuMe, in partnership with IPG Media Lab, recently conducted a study, Insight from Multi-Screen Research – Millennials: Distinct in Video Consumption?, which took a look at the video viewing and device usage of Millennials, Baby Boomers and Generation X’ers, but clearly focused on the Millennials. That demographic group also known as Generation Y, who were born between 1980 and 2000, give or take. Almost every research group has a different definition with one of the strictest being 1982 to 1995. Either way, recent estimates put the demographic generation at around 95 million aged roughly 25-34, making them an important slice of the American population.

To better understand this major demographic, YuMe teamed up with IPG Media Lab, to pull together a representative online panel of participants, give them a survey, have them watch 20 minutes of content, give them a post-exposure survey and an interview via webcam. They found some things that aren’t all that surprising, but verification of trends is always good information for marketing and advertising.

Millennials are Dropping Old School Video Platform

Television is old school to the Millennials, who have had the highest drop off rate for TV usage over the past three years according to the study.  Of any demographic, Millennial women are dropping the most TV usage, 10% less since 2010, topping even Millennial males who dropped TV usage 7% since 2010. In this graph you can see they are pointing to the 18-24-year-old group (born in 1989-2000), a slightly narrower definition of Millennials.

Millennials Dropping TV Usage This means that traditional TV advertising is not reaching them like it used to and this trend will probably continue in a downward way making it less and less effective for this major demographic. They are watching some time-shifted television shows, as you can see below, via a DVR and most likely online as well.


The Millennials use their smartphone and tablets more than any other demographic on the chart and are practically the anti-thesis of the 65+ group who uses TV the most and mobile devices the least. A more interesting trend might be the total lack of DVR usage by the younger 18-24-year-old demographic. Growing up in the full on video streaming age seems to have made them TV and DVR averse. Important information if you’re looking to target them now, or in the near future.

Video Content Viewing by Type

It is also interesting to note that the Millennials also said they watch a lot of TV shows, and user-generated content. That might help explain the fact that Netflix and YouTube account for 50% of all peak period Internet traffic in North America. What they don’t watch, is news, with only 13% saying they watch it. Speaks volumes to the future of the country.

The content they do watch is, again, mostly on three screens; PC, smartphone, and tablet. 49% reported watching ‘web videos’ on smartphones, 44% said PC and 44% said tablet, when given the option of picking two options (presumably TV and DVR were in there as well).


Where Millennials Watch Video

Where they watch the content is also interesting. The three major demographics, Millenials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers, all ranked in the high 90’s percentage-wise in terms of watching at home. However, over 50% of Millenials said they are likely to watch content “at a friend’s or significant other’s home” a full 20-30% more than the others. While commuting 32% of Millenials said they watch content (5-10% more than the others) showing they they are either, hopefully, car pooling, or using public transportation.

Good news for retailers though, 13% reported they are likely to watch video, “in a store,” which could prove useful for the upcoming holiday shopping season. Compare that to 8% of Gen X’ers and 3% of Boomers. Clearly, that in store video marketing, or online product video marketing, is going to be seen by the Millenials.


Where to Watch Video on Smartphones and Tablets

Tunneling down into the information, YuMe also reported on smartphone and tablet usage in each of those locations as well. At home ranked in the 98-100% range with Millennials, at a friend’s pulled 58% and 49% respectively. Smartphones are on the rise everywhere though which might be indicative of bigger screens, better resolutions and faster mobile data networks.

Again, in the retail space, 19% said they’d use their phone and 6% said they’d use a tablet. However, when they leave the store and go eat or drink at a bar or restaurant those numbers skew higher with 26% saying they would use a smartphone and 14% a tablet.


So perhaps some cross-promotional streaming video targeting is in order between retailers and restaurants, especially to those trying to target the Millennials.

To App, Stream or Download?

This is the last section of the YuMe report that I’m going to look at in this article so I can devote an entire article to the video advertising aspect of it. There’s nothing groundbreaking here in terms of results in that the highest percentage of each demographic said they use an app to get their video content. That’s closely followed by streaming it straight from the web. Downloading to a device ranked last with under half of all demographics saying they do that.

The key information here is that if you’ve got video on the web and you want to target the Millennials, you need to make sure you’ve got an app for that, or that it can stream to all the mobile platforms, both tablet and smartphone. Android, iOS and Windows phones and tablets are probably going to nail the majority of them. I don’t see too many using a Blackberry device or anything too outside the major operating systems.


That’s a Wrap

The rest of the report goes to talk about multi-tasking which Millennials lead the way in, both in total and on connected device multi-tasking. Then the report continues on to look at video advertising, brand recall, and a couple other things which I look at in another article. There are really some potentially fascinating conclusions that I come to in the video advertising side of things. Like the fact that smartphone video ads are over 100% more effective on Millennials than TV ads. See, now you want to read the other article, don’t you?


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