16 JAN 2023

Why do Gen Z consumers have an entirely different definition of "entertainment"?

For decades, TV has been the center of the entertainment ecosystem. But for Gen Z consumers, it is just one of several ways they spend their time, according to Hub’s annual “Video Redefined” study.

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For decades, TV has been the center of the entertainment ecosystem. But for Gen Z consumers, it is just one of several ways they spend their time, according to Hub’s annual “Video Redefined” study. According to the investigation, viewers age 35+ say they spend more time watching TV than any other kind of screen-based entertainment – 43% of their total screen time. Only about a fifth of their time goes to gaming or “non-premium” online video on platforms like YouTube or TikTok.

Among those age 13-24 this proportion is inverted: they estimate less than a fifth of their screen time (17%) is spent on television shows. Instead, they spend more than twice that on gaming and non-premium video combined. Hub’s annual “Video Redefined” study also notes that the TV screen is the home base for premium video content, but Gen Z allocate as much time or more to content on other devices.

This disparity in content between the youngest consumers and their older counterparts is mirrored in the screens they use: both groups allocate about a fifth of their total screen time to content on a smart TV. But otherwise, device usage of the two groups is very different: viewers age 35+ estimate they spend about a third of their total screen time watching content through a pay TV set top box and only 12% to entertainment on a phone, while those age 13-24 allocate the most time (30%) to content on their smartphone, and only 8% to content through a cable box.

●  THE RISE OF TIKTOK

Meanwhile, TikTok has quickly become an entertainment hub for young consumers. While YouTube remains the biggest player in “non-premium” online video – more than 80% of respondents use it regularly –, TikTok has become indispensable to many young viewers, in a relatively short period of time.

Among those age 13-24, two-thirds have used TikTok in the past week (second only to YouTube). Among those using TikTok, 72% say they watch it every day (compared with just 48% of YouTube users in that age group), and among those who use both, more than half (51%) say they would choose TikTok over YouTube if they could only have one.


“The ‘streaming wars’ monopolize the spotlight when it comes to predicting the fortunes of media companies in the future. But this obscures an even more important shift: the next generation of TV consumers are just less engaged with traditional TV itself. Gaming and social video are the focus of their entertainment lifestyles. There is no reason to assume they will grow out of these habits as they age. Media organizations need to adapt to these changes in order to meet tomorrow’s viewers on the devices and platforms where they will spend most of their time,”  said Jon Giegengack, Principal at Hub.

The data cited here come from Hub’s “Video Redefined” study, conducted among 1.900 consumers age 13-74 in the United States. The data was collected in December 2022.

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