For Youth, “Watching TV” Evokes Netflix More Than It Does Cable & Network Brands

January 23, 2017

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | Broadcast & Cable | Digital | Television | TV Audiences & Consumption | Video | Youth & Gen X

The definition of TV is blurring, and there are important distinctions to make when considering how youth engage with video. For example, while traditional TV viewing is down by 40% over the past 5 years among 18-24-year-olds, that doesn’t mean that this demographic is watching less TV. New survey results [download page] from Hub Entertainment Research indicate that America’s youth associate Netflix with watching TV more than they do traditional cable and network brands.

The survey – fielded among more than 1,300 consumers aged 16-74 who watch at least 5 hours of TV per week and have broadband at home – found that 72% of 16-24-year-olds associate Netflix with “watching TV.” By comparison, only 45% mentioned TV networks when asked which of several terms come closest to what they think of when they think of TV.

The 55+ group, though, has almost the polar opposite view. Three in 4 mentioned TV networks, compared to only one-third who associated Netflix with watching TV.

Interestingly, Netflix seems to be hurting traditional network awareness: among respondents who had watched shows from a traditional network via a subscription video-on-demand service such as Netflix, just 41% could correctly identify the network that originally created the program.

That could explain – at least in small part – why traditional brands are considered much less of a “must-have” than Netflix. Presented with a list of original programming networks and sources and asked which 3 they would keep if they could have only that many:

  • A leading 36% cited Netflix; followed by
  • ABC (20%); and
  • CBS (18%).

ABC and CBS fared even worse among Netflix users, 57% of whom chose Netflix as being among their 3 “must-haves”. HBO (18%) was next among this group, seemingly indicating that Netflix viewers feel that they can find traditional network programs on SVOD without having to keep the networks themselves.

For viewers who don’t use Netflix, CBS ranked first (29%), ahead of ABC (26%) and NBC (25%).

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