Teens Estimate Spending Just 20% of Their Daily Video Time With Cable TV

April 19, 2018

Cable TV’s share of teen video consumption continues to decline at the expense of Netflix, YouTube and other streaming video platforms, according to the latest semi-annual Taking Stock With Teens survey from Piper Jaffray. In fact, this latest edition has teens estimating that they allocate just 20% of their daily video time to linear TV, a new low.

For comparison’s sake, teens estimated spending 23% of their video time with cable TV at this point last year, and 26% of their time a year earlier.

Teen viewing of traditional TV has certainly dropped over the past few years – in fact, more precipitously than other age groups. As of Q2 2017, weekly traditional TV viewing hours among 12-17-year-olds had dropped by almost half (45.5%) over the course of 5 years, according to an ongoing MarketingCharts analysis of Nielsen data.

Even so, that Nielsen data indicates that teens spent roughly 1 hour and 40 minutes per day on average watching traditional TV during the second quarter of 2017, so it may be that it occupies more than one-fifth of their total viewing time, as they estimate in the Piper Jaffray survey.

Nonetheless, the trends show that cable TV is losing out to Netflix and YouTube, among others. The latest study from Piper Jaffray has teens estimating that they spend 39% of their daily video time with Netflix, up a point from the past couple of years. In fact, the idea of “watching TV” now evokes Netflix more than it does cable and/or network brands for youth, according to Hub Entertainment Research.

YouTube is also popular with teens, who estimate spending 30% of their daily video time with the platform, up from 26% a year ago. One study has suggested that 85% of male teens watch YouTube on a daily basis, as do 70% of female teens, although survey data has found widely varying estimates on that end.

Given the prevailing trends, it will be interesting to see how far cable TV drops in subsequent surveys – and what the floor may be, if there is one…

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 6,000 teens across 40 U.S. states with an average age of 16.4. Some 55% of respondents are male, and the sample has an average household income of $66,300.

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