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Here's How Millennials Are Consuming Video Content

Janvier Depeazer, Sr. Research Analyst , Consumer Technology Association (CTA)

When it comes to video technology and content, it’s no surprise consumers from different generations have differing engagement, purchasing and spending habits.  This is especially true among “Millennials” (adults under age 35) and “Baby Boomers” (or Boomers for brevity; adults 55 and older).  For different industries and for different reasons, these two populations have a profound impact on the content and display landscape, according to research by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). 

Here’s how Millennials and Boomers’ content consumption habits differ:

  • The television is still the top device for content watching and Boomers are more likely to watch content on TVs than Millennials (90 percent vs. 81 percent). But, Millennials are more likely than Boomers to watch content on portable devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops (88 percent vs. 66 percent).

  • In contrast, Millennials are more likely than Boomers to buy a new TV within the next 12 months, (52 percent vs 33 percent), although Boomers are more likely to spend a greater amount on their TV purchase, on average, nearly $100 more ($732 vs. $641).

The amount that Millennials pay for video content also differs from the Boomer generation.

  • More Boomers have Pay-TV (like cable or satellite) subscriptions than Millennials (86 percent vs 62 percent), so it makes sense that their average monthly Pay-TV content spend slightly edges that of Millennials ($91 vs. $86), but not by much.

  • In contrast, Millennials’ average monthly spend on content other than Pay-TV (such as paid streaming, DVDs and downloaded media files) far outpaces that of Boomers ($63 vs. $46).

While Millennials are taking advantage of new technology for watching content, they are also still watching through more traditional sources like cable subscriptions.

  • Although more than a third of households report having Pay-TV subscriptions and paid streaming subscriptions (37 percent), more Millennial households than Boomer households report having both subscriptions (43 percent vs. 24 percent).

  • Millennials stream more (paid or unpaid) content than Boomers (84 percent vs. 42 percent).

  • Boomers watch more live-TV than Millennials (73 percent vs 45 percent), while time-shifted content (‘DVR-ed’ or VOD) is consumed much more often by Millennials than Boomers (55 percent vs. 27 percent).

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