Do GenZ Viewers Find Commercials A Novelty?

Hulu’s new skinny bundle entrant is different for one reason. Instead of trying to duplicate the typical cable television user guide, Hulu makes suggestions based on what you’ve watched or by genre. It’s an acknowledgement of how Netflix does it, and an acknowledgement that Netflix is more worth following than cable companies. It's the way things are done. 

A study Hulu commissioned with Tremor Video, released earlier this month, gives some basic information about the next wave of viewers coming up. They’re called Generation Z, or the post-millennials and they aren’t quite like you and me, regardless of our ancient ages. Tremor and Hulu enlisted The Center for Generational Kinetics, which surveyed 1,020 adults, 14-50, online.

When it comes to advertising connected to content, they say some of the right things, from a Hulu/Tremor perspective. They’ll take it. This survey says 54% of them don’t mind seeing relevant advertising.

 But make it short, preferably at the beginning and not constantly barging in.

The survey’s authors attributes that mellowness to two factors;  Because they don’t watch as much linear TV, ads are “more of a novelty” and because they are growing up with ad targeting, ads are “de facto viewed as content.”  

I’d add a third possibility: They’re young. They haven’t had it quite up to here with ads. (Only 46% of all viewers say they “don’t mind or enjoy watching” ads.)

Two other things: The Tremor study says these new, young adults are far less likely to avoid a non-skippable ad than the generations closest to them--43% will watch, compared to 31% for millennials or GenXers. And 40% say they are likely to share an ad, an attitude that is off the charts. Only 19% of GenXers and 30% of millennials will do that.

Among GenZers, 43% think that within a decade ads will always match up to the viewer.

“As Gen Z charts its own course of television consumption, advertising must iterate new solutions to engage this audience” the report reads. “Evolution in the model should Connected TV/OTT Implications for advertisers should be viewed as an opportunity to embrace the next generation of consumers on its terms.”

They also are less sure of what they’re going to watch when they begin watching content (just 31% do) compared to millennials (40%) or GenXers (35%). But they are more easily persuaded to watch--38% say they always/frequently watch content recommended to them

GenZers apparently recognize the social importance of staying current, perhaps only too well. A much-too-obliging bunch--46%--say they watch shows just to be able to discuss them with peers; 32% to impress others; and 23% just to look smart.

Tremor doesn’t make this conclusion, but it seems obvious. Generation Z is doing what you’d expect a lot of young people to be doing: discovering the world and products with help from others, including peers.

One semantic note: The Tremor/Hulu survey says 70% of GenZ viewers consider “watching TV” to mean watching “via an online source,” actually behind the 72% of millennials who have grown accustomed to blending the two delivery systems. Altogether, 84% of the survey takers equate streaming with “turning on the TV.”

It would seem only a band of advertisers are still recognizing a big distinction, but language matters.


1 comment about "Do GenZ Viewers Find Commercials A Novelty?".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics, May 30, 2017 at 9:37 a.m.

    All very generalized stuff, PJ. This type of research has little bearing on a given advertiser's decision to use one media "platform" relative to another. That must be a function not only of  ad clutter, audience, cost, demos and mindset, but also what is being said in the message and it's actual relevance, if any, to the audience as it consumes particular types of content. I found it interesting that only 43% of the Gen Z respondents believe that within a decade all TV ads will "match up" to the consumer. Based on the lofty pronouncements we hear and read daily,one would think that that miracle is a certainty--- not in ten years but any day now.

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