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Millennials & TV: Big appetites, little patience

TiVo has released follow-up findings from its 2016 TiVo consumer survey, focusing on the behaviour of US millennials and how this coveted demographic interacts with video content, products and services in contrast to other generations.

“The media industry is facing a perfect storm with increased choice and access to content, at the cost of massive fragmentation and frustrated consumers,” said Paul Stathacopoulos, vice president of strategy and strategic research, TiVo. “The coveted millennial demographic is in the eye of this storm, consuming the most content across the most services and platforms. However, members of this generation have short attention spans, and they are the most likely to ‘show dump’ when access to content becomes challenging. These are cautionary signs for content owners who rely on loyalty and continued engagement to rationalize and realise returns on their investments in creative properties.”

Continuing the conversation around ‘show dumping’, TiVo found that millennials and Generation Z viewers are the most likely to give up on shows they previously enjoyed when it becomes too difficult to access them, either finding the content trapped behind paywalls or spread across a variety of entertainment sources. On the other hand, TiVo’s survey also revealed that the millennial generation spends the most time each day watching video content – there is simply a limit to how many hoops they are willing to jump through before quitting on a specific show:

  • Some 54 per cent of millennials have “show dumped,” giving up on a show they previously enjoyed because it became too difficult to access the content, in contrast to just 17 per cent of boomers
  • Millennials also consume the most amount of content, more than 6 hours per day
  • Millennials spend 32 minutes per day searching for content to watch, a number boosted by the number of services and devices they have in the home. In contrast to other generations, millennials are most comfortable with video entertainment services and devices, likely driven by their desire to stay at the forefront of the newest content and best available innovations in entertainment technology:
  • 73 per cent of millennials have streaming video devices at home
  • 91 per cent pay for at least one subscription streaming service
  • On average, millennials own 3 streaming devices and subscribe to 2.7 paid streaming services, providing them with a myriad of entertainment options and access points

The complex, multi-service entertainment setup in most millennial homes splits viewing time across many platforms and services. Millennials have high expectations for cross-platform discovery solutions, which are largely unmet:

  • 83 per cent of millennial pay-TV subscribers use the programming guide every day
  • 53 per cent of millennials want recommendations on what to watch
  • 55 per cent would pay to simplify search across platforms
  • 43 per cent of millennials use voice commands every day where only 8 per cent of Boomers feel comfortable enough with the technology to do the same
  • 46 per cent of millennials feel extremely frustrated when they cannot easily find and access the programmes they want to watch, in contrast to just 20 per cent of boomers

These results illuminate millennial viewing habits and the existing gap between viewer expectation and the current limitations of the discovery experience available to the average consumer. To appeal to millennials and future generations, best-in-class content and technology are necessary to capture continued interest, engagement and satisfaction.

These generational results are the US subset of the overall research findings from an online survey of 5,500 pay-TV and OTT subscribers across seven countries worldwide with 2,500 interviews completed in the US, and 500 interviews completed in each additional country, including the UK, France, Germany, China, Japan and India.

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