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Millennials Now Watch More Time-Shifted Content Than Live TV, Says CTA

Arlington – August 31, 2017 – 

Millennials (ages 18-34) watch more time-shifted content through self-recording or on-demand (55 percent) than live TV (45 percent), says a new study from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). Exploring Preferences for Personalized Content Consumption Experiences Study also shows that only 35 percent of those over the age of 35 watch time-shifted content, clearly preferring to watch live TV (66 percent).

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Additionally, CTA’s study found that one in four Americans has learned about new content through predictive recommendations made by the content platform – and even more Millennials (79 percent) have actually clicked on/watched content recommended. In general, advertisements (70 percent) and recommendations (67 percent) are the top sources for learning about new content.
“Millennials clearly lead the pack in consuming streaming content – watching it when and where they want and, often, at the advice of predictive recommendations,” said Steve Koenig, senior director of market research, CTA. “The influence of artificial intelligence, machine learning and widespread connectivity enables rapid discovery of new content and allows every generation to consume  it how they want.”

Ad Tolerance Is Low
Only 38 percent of consumers who watch ad-supported content will watch an entire ad without being required ‘all or most of the time’. And when watching an ad is required before their content begins, 57 percent of consumers say they ignore the ad.  For content where ad viewing is not required, 66 percent will watch only until the “skip” option is available.

Willingness to Share Information for Relevant Ads
Although it’s no surprise that required ads are less preferred, among consumers who watch ad-supported content Millennials are the only  age group that indicates a willingness to share personal information – beyond interests and hobbies. Key findings about all ad-supported content viewers’ tolerance for ads include:

  • 67 percent of all consumers don’t mind sharing their viewing habits with websites/apps they access often

  • 64 percent of consumers prefer content networks know their viewing habits so networks can show relevant content recommendations

  • 62 percent of consumers prefer content networks know their preferences so networks can show them relevant ads

“As the ad tolerance portion of the study shows, no matter how strongly content appeals to consumers, there are limits on how far they will go to engage,” said Koenig. “Content platforms and advertisers need to understand viewer preferences by leveraging behavioral data to boost impressions and ad effectiveness.”

CTA’s Exploring Preferences for Personalized Content Consumption Experiences Study was designed and formulated by CTA, the most comprehensive source of sales data, forecasts, consumer research and historical trends for the consumer technology industry. The study represents the findings of a quantitative study administered online between April 27 - May 10, 2017 to two different populations of “general content consumers” and ‘free content consumers” to survey a total of 2,500 U.S. adult respondents. The report is available at