Research: Young adults avid catch-up viewers

According to research firm Mediamétrie’s Eurodata TV Worldwide study, Young Adults Report, which highlights the characteristics of 15-34 year olds within the audio-visual landscape of ten countries, those in that demographic are singular viewers who watch TV programmes differently: they avidly watch catch-up and programmes on other screens, with a strong attraction to fiction.

In the 10 countries studied for the report between September 2016 and June 2017, young adults, who make up 22 per cent of the population, account for 13 per cent of the overall TV audience. They spend an average of 2 hours and 25 minutes each day in front of their TV screen to watch TV programmes live or as catch up. This average figure is lower than in 2015-16, but this conceals disparities across the markets. The duration of listening time for young Americans remains the highest (2h43min) despite a drop of 18 minutes. Young Japanese adults maintain their listening time at 2h14min per day, French 15 to 34 year olds concede only 9 min, at 2h15min, when Danes in the same age group spend 1h29min daily in front of their TV screen. This trend is being led by a change in usage: young adults are now using all screens to watch TV programmes.

Viewing in time-shifted mode and on internet screens continues to attract more young adults

Young adults will happily watch TV in time-shifted mode. And in the land of catch-up TV, young adults are kings: in Great Britain, where this type of viewing is most common (14 per cent of the time viewers aged 4 and older spend watching TV programmes), young adults devote 21 per cent of their TV consumption to time-shifted and catch up viewing. This is one percentage point higher than in the preceding year and 9 percentage points ahead of the Netherlands or the United States.

In the Netherlands, young adults are fond of internet screens (computer, tablet and smartphone). In fact, they spend five times longer watching TV programmes on screens other than the TV set than the TV audience does as a whole.

Do young adults watch the same channels as other age groups?

In the ten countries studied, the top three most watched channels by young adults on the one hand and by the total population on the other hand have some two channels in common; however, in France and the Netherlands, there are three channels in common but none in Germany.

From one country to another, the audience profile of so-called ‘youth’ channels varies considerably. Comedy Central in Denmark is the channel with the youngest audience: 69 per cent of its total audience are young adults. The channel also performs well with this target in Germany: young adults account for 55 per cent of the channel’s total audience; and in the Netherlands young adults make up 49 per cent of its total audience. In France, NRJ12 has the youngest audience with 29 per cent of 15-34 year olds in its overall audience.

Young adults like fiction

Fictional programmes on average capture 35 per cent of the young adult audience. That figure even reaches 45 per cent in the United States and 53 per cent in Spain. In France, the UK and the United States, time-shifted and catch up viewing by young adults on their TV also mainly benefit fiction: on average delivering an additional 46 per cent audience for TV programmes.

With one third (33 per cent) of the time spent watching television programmes on the TV set, factual programming (magazine programmes, news, documentaries, etc.) is the second favourite genre for young adults. It is even the No. 1 in Italy, the Netherlands and Japan.

Finally, young adults devote 32 per cent of their TV set viewing to entertainment formats, an over-consumed genre, since it represents only 25 per cent of the hours of programmes broadcast. Emblematic success stories Got Talent and The Voice appear in the Top 10 entertainment programmes that are most watched by young adults in six out of the 10 countries studied.

In the Netherlands, time-shifted and catch up are particularly popular with young adults for entertainment programmes: these practices represent an additional audience of 34 per cent on average on the TV screen.

This is even more true for some programmes if you add Internet screens: the reality show Temptation Island, broadcast on RTL5, has multiplied its ‘young adults’ audience by 2.5 thanks to the time-shifted and Internet screen viewing.

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