TV-Style Programming Still Big For Younger Viewers

Young people still watch a lot of TV -- but in the opening weeks of the fall season, their prime-time broadcast network TV usage was down. Prime-time 18-34 TV viewers are off around a Nielsen 7% to 10%.

Mind you, this is in keeping with an overall downward trend. A broader demo, viewers 18-49, were down 6%.

Of course, online ad-supported video, VOD, time-shifted DVR, and subscription video on demand ad-free platforms are nibbling into traditional TV’s usage.

But here’s the thing: advertising-supported video -- all kinds, traditional, digital and otherwise -- is still good news for producers of younger-skewing TV content.

Speaking at an Advertising Week conference on Thursday, Brian Hughes, senior VP of audience intelligence & strategy at Magna,s aid while the live audience for MTV’s  “Video Music Awards” sank 51% over two years -- 2014 to 2016 -- among viewers 12-14, streaming usage of those same awards surged.



Live-stream views of the event on PC and mobile for MTV was up 461% during that period. Facebook streams of the event rose 704% and Twitter views rose 190%.

Is all this being monetized -- in term of advertising revenues -- to the same degree as for traditional TV networks? Of course not.

But it does speak to the idea that young viewers can still flock to increasingly advertising-supported TV-style platforms. This is something YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter are increasingly counting on.

"A lot of people, even young people, accept the idea that nothing is free,” Hughes.

All this should give owners of young-skewing TV content some hope. Not only are young viewers not abandoning TV, they still like TV-style programming.

TV networks owners just need to do a better job convincing major TV marketers to pay more in reaching these elusive viewers. Admittedly, not an easy task. But what’s the alternative?

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