Gen Z Spends Less Time With Text

It’s been an article of faith among marketers that video, with its combination of sight, sound and motion, is a more compelling communication form than text, which lacks the ability to plug directly into the reptilian brainstem.

Thus, books and newspapers were on the defensive against radio and TV. Now, it’s all happening again — but this time with the internet.

That’s according to a new report from eMarketer, which found that members of Gen Z, the next generational cohort in line after the much-pursued millennials, is spending significantly less time with text-based publishers.



Instead, Gen Z spends more time with video than their older counterparts — as well as their own previous habits.

The report, based on a survey of 1,173 American internet users 13-34, conducted in March by Fullscreen and Leflein Associates, polled teen and young adults about media habits. It found that among younger teens, short- and long-form videos are gaining at the expense of blogs and publisher sites.

The biggest increase was seen in short-form digital video, with 57% of teens 13-17 saying they’re watching more bite-sized video content than a year ago. Some 35% say they’re watching the same amount.

However, full-length shows and movies, streamed digitally, weren’t far behind. In this age group, 55% of teens say they’re watching more than before, while 35% are watching the same amount.

For comparison, 45% of millennials (18-34) say they’re watching more short-form video, and 44% say they’re watching the same amount. For full-length shows and movies, 50% of millennials say they’re watching more than before, and 39% say the same amount.

Meantime, blogs, publishing sites and apps are in retreat or holding steady at best: 30% of teens 13-17 say they’re spending less time with publisher sites and apps, and 50% say they’re spending the same amount of time.

Also, 40% say they’re spending less time with blogs, while 43% say they’re spending the same amount of time.

The same trend is evident, but less pronounced, among millennials: 24% are spending less time on publisher sites than before, while 47% say the same amount of time. For blogs, 26% are spending less time, while 44% are spending the same amount.

Interestingly, regular TV-viewing habits seem to skew closer to the publishing sites than digital video. Thirty-five percent of teens 13-17 say they’re spending less time than before and 40% the same.

Conversely, 27% of millennials say they’re watching less and 39% the same.

3 comments about "Gen Z Spends Less Time With Text".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics, July 5, 2017 at 8:40 a.m.

    Whew-----heavy going, Erik. Instead of spending money on obviously self promoting research that nobody who knows anything will give credance to, these guys would be better off using published Nielsen data which does, indeed, indicate continued growth in digital video usage among younger consumers. Problem with that is that the meter-generted stats also show that a typical 18-24 devotes four times more minutes per day to good old fashioned "linear TV" than to digital videos on PCs, smartphones and tablets.

  2. Barbara Leflein from leflein associates replied, July 6, 2017 at 11:52 a.m.

    Whoa - a bit harsh Ed.  Most media companies commission custom research to get deeper insights and supplement syndicated data like Nielsen. With regard to your comment, I think you're missing the point - our study mesaured YOY change in consumption habits not absolute time spent.   

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, July 6, 2017 at 12:50 p.m.

    Barbara, I'm not picking on your study in particular but I place little faith in research that asks respondents for what are, at best, impressionistic evaluations of how they spend their media time. All too often, what people say they do does not correlate very well with more objective electronic or meter-based observations of what they actually do. I do, however, agree that digital video usage is growing, but this, in and of itself, does not tell us very much, nor does it follow that because respondents in a sample claimed that they are watching less TV that this has any significance for advertisers making media decisions.

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