While the media lifestyles of Gen Z—a generation that has never known a world without the internet—are dominated by social media and music streaming, this diverse audience of streamers view long-form TV content with as much frequency as short-form video content. According to Horowitz Research’s “State of Gen Z 2021” study, eight in ten (78%) 13- to 24-year-olds stream TV content (TV shows, movies, sports, etc.) weekly, while 79% stream short-form content (short clips, user-generated content, video game live streams, videos on social media, etc.).
Even when looking at the share of viewing, the Horowitz study finds that Gen Z are splitting their viewing time rather evenly between long-form and short-form content, 46% and 54% of their time, respectively. Notably, 13- to 17-year-olds spend a slightly more significant percentage of their time with short-form video content compared to 18- to 24-year-olds, who spend their time split evenly between the two formats.
Contrary to popular belief, not all of this viewing is happening on a smartphone, the Horowitz study finds. Virtually all (91%) of Gen Z use their smartphone every day/almost every day, and two in three (66%) also use a TV set every day/almost every day. In fact, the study finds that 6 in 10 Gen Zers have a TV set in their own bedrooms.
Gen Zers use an average of 5.5 streaming services to stream TV content, fewer services than among adult streamers, who average 7.5 services used regularly. While Netflix is the most popular streaming service—with over three-quarters (78%) of Gen Z streamers using it regularly—other SVOD services, including Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO Max, are also heavily used, as are free services like YouTube (for TV content) and The Roku Channel. The most popular TV genres among Gen Zers include movies, animated series/cartoons, dramas, and anime, and live TV content still has a role among Gen Zers, with 55% saying they watch at least some live TV content every week.
“It’s important for marketers to keep in mind that media consumption among Gen Z is not about absolutes; it’s not true that they ‘never’ watch long-form TV content, that they ‘never’ use a screen other than their phones, or that they ‘never’ watch live TV,” notes Adriana Waterston, Chief Revenue Officer, and Insights & Strategy Lead at Horowitz. “Understanding that there are nuances of Gen Z’s media habits allows marketers and media brands to increase engagement and create unique experiences for this generation of digital natives across multiple platforms and through a variety of formats. While the platforms and technologies they have are different, we all share the desire to sit back at times and be drawn into compelling, high-quality long-form entertainment.”