One-Third of Millennial Online Video Viewers Watch Little to No Broadcast TV

October 14, 2013

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | TV Audiences & Consumption | Video | Youth & Gen X

NYT-Online-Video-Viewers-Broadcast-TV-Consumption-Oct2013Broadcast TV isn’t all that popular among a subset of Millennials, finds the New York Times (NYT) in research reported by Poynter. Among the online video users surveyed, 34% of Millennials (18-34) reported watching mostly online video or no broadcast TV, compared to 20% of Gen X (35-49) respondents and 10% of Boomers (50+). A quibble with coverage of this research, for which headlines have tended to portray the results as applicable to all Millennials: the NYT surveyed online video users, not the broader Millennial population.

That probably doesn’t affect the results too much: new research from Pew suggests that 95% of 18-29-year-old internet users watch online video, and online access is almost ubiquitous in that age group. Nevertheless, it’s reasonable to imagine that online video users (the frequency of viewing is unclear) are more favorable to that medium than the broader population.

One way to test the results is to see how they measure up to other research in this area. While the comparison isn’t perfect, a recent study from Fiber to the Home Council Americas offers a companion viewpoint. In that study, which surveyed fixed broadband subscribers in the US and Canada, 1 in 5 respondents under the age of 35 said they are getting most or all of their TV and movie programming from over-the-top sources rather than through traditional broadcast or cable programming.

Traditional TV still dwarfs online video in terms of time spent, according to an analysis of more than 2 years’ worth of Nielsen data, even among 18-24-year-olds.

Nevertheless, there’s clearly a generational divide in terms of viewing preferences in the NYT survey, which suggests that over time online video and broadcast TV consumption will move in opposite directions.

In other results from the study, online video users report that video hosting (63%) and social media (44%) sites and applications are the most popular venues for watching online video. The top online video topics watched are funny video clips (52%) and movies, movie clips and trailers (46%).

Finally, 59% of respondents who had seen an online video ad said they would be likely to watch pre-rolls if a countdown timer makes it clear that they are short.

About the Data: The study surveyed more than 4,000 online video viewers.

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