Young Twentysomethings Watch More TV Online Than Via Cable

Advertisers and video providers, take note: The younger generation spends more screen time watching online video sources than TV, according to new data from research firm The Diffusion Group.

The so-called “Late Millenials” group between the ages of 18 to 24 prefers online TV. This group spends about 33% of their TV time watching TV online and 29% watching via broadcast and cable. The Diffusion Group said this particular distribution of viewing is unique to this segment because consumers in the 25-to-34 age group are watching more broadcast than online, with 30% watching via broadcast and 23% watching TV online. The percentages continue to favor TV as age goes up. About 61% of adult broadband users ages 55 and older watch TV on broadcast or cable, and only 4% watch online.

However, the favor the youngest group shows to online video is important for brands to note as they aim to target, and also for pay TV operators too as they market their range of services, like TV Everywhere.

These findings could also fuel the cord-shaving debate especially in light of a recent report that the largest multichannel video providers lost video subscribers in 2013, but gained broadband customers. Cable providers lost 1.74 million subscribers last year, 23% more than in 2012, while IPTV providers gained customers. Still, given the gains in video by telephone subscribers, these were “modest losses,” said Leichtman Research Group, the firm that conducted the study. The biggest providers collectively gained more than 2.6 million high-speed customers.

More evidence of the interest in over-the-top content came from a Vubiquity study that found that 58% of consumers would like the ability to download to their tablets TV shows and movies that are included in their pay-TV subscriptions. 

Whether more consumers shift to over-the-top remains to be seen, but if they do, expect more ad dollars to follow. Already, TV ad spending will be overtaken by digital by 2018 when digital hits 36.4% of the market, compared to TV’s projected 36.1% share, said eMarketer in a new report. That’s up from 27.9% for digital and 38.1%  for TV  today.

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2 comments about "Young Twentysomethings Watch More TV Online Than Via Cable ".
  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited , March 26, 2014 at 2:51 p.m.
    Until their 40's and 50's and they become the squintables.
  2. Michael Greeson from TDG , March 26, 2014 at 9:30 p.m.
    Actually, the TDG release says that Late Millennials watch more OTT TV than LIVE broadcast/cable, not live+DVR broadcast/cable. This is an important point. When DVR viewing is added to live viewing, broadcast/cable still tops OTT TV as a % of daily TV time. TDG's release can be found at http://tdgresearch.com/late-millennial-television-sourcing-differs-dramatically-from-other-segments/. Nonetheless, the conclusion to be drawn from the data presented is unwavering: the content source mix to which Late Millennials are turning for TV viewing is shifting toward online sources and away from legacy broadcast/cable sources.