Online Video Use Among Tweens and Teens Surges

November 11, 2019

Recent data indicated that American teens now spend a larger share of their daily video time on YouTube (37%) than on Netflix (35%). But the gap between the two video platforms may actually be more pronounced, according to report [download page] from Common Sense Media.

In Common Sense’s survey of more than 1,600 US young people between the ages of 8 and 18-years-old, 76% of tweens (8-12-year-olds) and 88% of teens (13-18-year-olds) reported having used YouTube. For both groups, more than half (53% share and 59% share, respectively) say that YouTube is the video platform they watch the most. This is roughly double the share of tweens (27%) and teens (31%) who say they watch Netflix the most.

The other well-known platforms are significantly behind in terms of being the favorite viewing destination. While tweens and teens have used other platforms like Amazon Prime Video (28% for both age groups), Hulu (18% and 22%, respectively) and Twitch (3% and 8%, respectively), only a nominal share of respondents watch those platforms the most.

Online Video Continues to Take A Bite Out of TV Viewing

Globally, online video consumption has increased at a consistent average rate of 32% per year for the past 5 years, prompting major advertisers to increase their spend on digital video this year. As a result, fewer young people in the US now report enjoying watching traditional TV, as online videos take over.

In 2015, 46% of tweens and 45% of teens said they enjoyed viewing online videos “a lot.” Those percentages jump to 67% of tweens and 58% of teens this year. By comparison, the number of tweens (61%) and teens (45%) who enjoy TV “a lot” in 2015 fell to 50% and 33%, respectively.

Indeed, the percentage of young people who watch online videos every day has more than doubled for both age groups in the past 4 years, from 24% of tweens and 34% of teens in 2015 to 56% and 69% this year. The daily time spent watching online videos has increased to 56 minutes on average for tweens (up from 25 minutes in 2015) and 59 minutes for teens (up from 35 in 2015).

Screen Time on the Rise

Unsurprisingly, young people are using screen media for a larger portion of their day than they did a few years ago, particularly teens. The proportion of tweens who spent more than 4 hours per day with screen media has remained mostly flat (31% in 2019; 30% in 2015). However, while 57% of teens spent more than 8 hours per day behind a screen in 2015, that percentage increased to 62% in 2019.

Although both age groups spend a good portion of their time with TV/video (53% share for tweens, 39% share for teens), tweens and teens are also using screen time for gaming (31% share, 22% share, respectively), browsing websites (5% share, 8% share, respectively) and social media (4% share, 16% share, respectively).

As this generation believes it is more creative than the generations before them, a small portion of screen time use (2% for tweens and 3% for teens) is also spent with content creation.

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: The report is based on the results of a nationally representative, probability-based online survey of 1,677 US young people between the ages of 8 and 18-years-old.

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