Verizon Report Says Millennials Watch 3X More TV Online Than Older Viewers

Verizon, through its Digital Media Services unit, is the latest corporate giant/media entity to put its focus on millennials.  In a new report being issued this morning titled The Digital Millennial, Verizon points out that the generation born roughly between 1981 and 2000 watches three times as much TV online as do non-millennials.

There are broader conclusions than that. Verizon says millennials prioritize value—but they also have strong brand preferences and will spend on extra services. On the Internet, Facebook has become “more of a utility to manage large numbers of friends. Self-expression is more likely to come through platforms like Instagram.”

They’re also changing TV by how they consume content online, but HBO doesn’t have to worry excessively about what that means. The large majority still have some cable or satellite service, and they’re way more likely to subscribe to premium services.  In all things digital, money isn’t as much of an obstacle as quality.   

These surveys usually don’t have any eye-popping detail you couldn’t guess on your own from a stroll through a good urban Starbucks.  It is not stunning to read that 31% of millennial regularly watch TV content from a smartphone (compared to 18% for non-millennials). Indeed, at first blush, one of the most stunning parts of the report is that there is far less information about the use of smartphones than you’d guess would be in a Verizon study.   

But there are some revealing numbers. Among top brand names, all four major broadcast networks show up in the top 10 list compiled by non-millennials; none do in the list by millennials. (Amazon tops the list among both age groups. Millennials pick YouTube second. The “nons” put Walmart in the second spot.)  

I guess I don’t know everything I should be surprised about, either.  Like, try this. According to Verizon, most millennials aren’t using their second screen, most of the time, to watch something related to the first screen; a full 70% don’t immerse themselves that way in a major way.  

But in that regard, non-millennials are even less involved and maybe more distracted; 88% of those older viewers using a second screen are using it to do/look at something else.

But millennials are using a second screen; 21% of millennials say they are very often using a second screen at least 76% of the time, and 16% around half the time. That sounds impressive, but expected. Less so (to me) was the Verizon stat that says 16% of non-millennials are using a second screen at least 76% of the time, and 12% half the time. (This is my own age bias showing, but that’s a pretty surprising stat for the older demo.)   

But 51% of non-millennials aren’t using a second-screen much of the time; only 34% of millennials cop to that.

Millennials are using their second-screen experience to post to Facebook (71%), to shop (73%), to tweet (49%) and to read e-books (43%). Millennials like to binge—39% of them report they do it frequently and to them, a good day of binge viewing totals up to 8.2 episodes.

Non-millennials can’t deal with that—only 16% binge a lot, and then, on average, for about 6.4 episodes.  Among non-millennials, 17% don’t’ binge at all; just 4% of millennials can say that.

And yet, regular old television doesn’t get absolutely pounded in the Verizon study. Among millennials, 41% of their viewing time is still spent on live TV, compared to 59% for non-millennials, though this survey also says that compared to older generations, they don’t know what they’re looking for; they spend a lot more time searching.  

They also are doing something that older users aren’t: They’re using community sharing sites, like Reddit, Imgur, 4chan and 9gag heavily. To non-millennials, those sites are basically just rumors.

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