We're All Consuming More Media, But Our Choices (Including Video) Vary By Age

We all know the COVID-19 pandemic has sent media consumption rates soaring around the world.

So it’s hardly surprising to read that a recent Global Web Index survey (March 25-30) of 4,000 internet users between the ages of 16 and 64 found that 87% of U.S. and 80% of U.K. respondents confirmed they are consuming more content since the outbreak.

Nor is it surprising that younger generations are, in general, still consuming more media overall than older generations.

What’s more interesting is looking at the media consumption similarities and variances across age groups — and in regard to video and TV in particular.

Again, no shock: On average across age groups, the survey found that 68% said they are using the web to search for coronavirus updates, making that the single biggest online activity. It is a bit surprising, however, that boomers are the least likely to confirm this, at 54% versus 71% for the biggest news-seeking group -- millennials.

Overall, 58% report they are currently listening to music on the web, with 49% using it the internet to watch movies/shows, 42% to watch funny videos, 40% to play games on mobile, and 32% to look at memes.

Asked which media they are consuming more of since the outbreak, broadcast TV, online videos, and online TV streaming were most cited, in that order.

But the patterns are indeed different.

Half (51%) of Gen Z reports consuming more online video (like YouTube and TikTok) now, versus 44% of millennials, 35% of Gen X, and just 11% of boomers.

With broadcast TV, the pattern is nearly the exact reverse: just 24% of Gen Z reports consuming more of it, versus 35% of millennials, 45% of Gen X, and 42% of boomers.

Still, nearly a quarter of boomers (21%) also report watching more online TV/streaming, as do 38% of both Gen X and Gen Z and 41% of millennials.

Live streams have seen the greatest upswing among millennials (30% consuming more of these), followed by Gen X (21%), Gen Z (17%) and boomers (9%).

There is also positive news about consumers’ appetites for buying new video services and other media subscriptions.

About 40% of respondents in both the U.S. and U.K. say they are considering buying new media subscriptions to pass the time.

In the U.S., Netflix is the one being most considered (by 18%). But in the U.K., viewers are about as likely to buy Disney+ (15%) as Netflix (14%).

Higher-income groups are slightly more likely to consider a Netflix subscription than lower-income ones, but their appetite for Disney+ is considerably larger — likely because Disney+ will be an added service on top of existing subscriptions in most cases, the researchers say.

Perhaps the most positive news of all for streaming services is that fully 76% of U.S. online video watchers and 58% of U.K. watchers say they plan to consume just as much of this content when the outbreak is over.

Here's a table summarizing the increased media consumption patterns by age:

3 comments about "We're All Consuming More Media, But Our Choices (Including Video) Vary By Age".
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  1. Robert Fahner from Prime Media, April 14, 2020 at 1:31 p.m.

    what TV is included in "Broadcast TV" ?

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, April 14, 2020 at 5:29 p.m.

    And why are people aged 65+ excluded? Also, what about cable content?

  3. John Grono from GAP Research replied, April 14, 2020 at 7:15 p.m.

    Good point Ed.

    Baby Boomers are (predominantly) defined as 1946-1964.   The survey base is 16-64.

    So, basically the "Boomer' data in this article refers to the sub-set of 56-64 year olds and excludes the 65-74 year olds.   Sloppy work.

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