30 JAN 2024

How does Generation Z consume content?

Gen Z devotes as much time to gaming, social media, and non-premium video as they do to traditional TV and films, according to Hub Entertainment Research’s latest report.

30 JAN 2024

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As the first native smartphone generation, Generation Z consumers are entertainment omnivores. Their handheld devices allow them immediate access to a wealth of platforms and content and they are taking full advantage. The latest 2023 results of Hub’s annual “Video Redefined” survey shows that, unlike their older counterparts for whom TV and movies still dominate entertainment time, Gen Z devotes as much time to gaming, social media, and non-premium video as they do to traditional TV and films.

The report noted that smartphones dominate as Gen Z’s choice for viewing video. In fact, nearly twice as many Gen Z consumers use a smartphone to watch video in a typical week as they use a traditional MVPD set top box.

Given their overwhelming use of smartphones, it is not surprising the proportion of Gen Z’s entertainment time spent watching TV is less than half that of viewers over 35. Gaming, non-premium video and social media are on par with TV and movies among young viewers. While older viewers still watch more traditional TV, a third of them admit that their use of non-premium video has cut into their “regular” TV viewing time.

Gen Z viewers spend nearly two hours a day watching non-premium video (short form, user generated, influencer, etc.), considerably more than older adults. However, people 35 and up are watching significantly more non-premium video than they were a year ago – two more hours a week – largely to keep up to date on news and other current topics of interest.

Furthermore, Hub’s annual “Video Redefined” survey revealed that more than eight in ten of all viewers use YouTube in a given week. But compared to those older than 35, twice as many Gen Zs use Instagram and TikTok, and three times as many use Snapchat to watch video. People who use multiple social platforms recognize that each delivers unique benefits. For example, TikTok delivers on short, trendy entertainment, while YouTube’s extensive library is a place to go for informative content.

“There is no doubt that younger viewers are not as devoted to traditional TV and movies as previous generations have been. This presents one more challenge to legacy media companies as they navigate the future of the video ecosystem. It would be futile for them to try to claw back time from non-traditional platforms, so instead media companies should look to social media as opportunities to reach Gen Z with premium content,”  said Mark Loughney, Senior Consultant for Hub.

These findings are from Hub’s 2023 “Video Redefined” report, based on a survey conducted among 1,900 US consumers with broadband, age 13-74. Interviews were completed in December 2023 and explored the types of content people consume, how they watch, and what devices they use.