Analysis: Netflix adds older, sheds younger viewers

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Findings from Ampere Analysis reveal a shift in the Netflix core audience, with the firm’s consumer data for Q3 2021 illustrating the rapid demographic changes in media consumption as the world emerges from lockdown.

Netflix is beginning to lose its youth-skewing customer base as people of all ages are seeking on-demand entertainment. In some mature markets, for the first time, 24–44-year-olds are now more likely to be Netflix subscribers than their 18-24 year-old peers.

Among even older groups, Netflix usage is growing rapidly. Global monthly usage of Netflix increased by over 22 per cent among the 45+ group in the past two years, while the same time period saw a growth of just 5 per cent among younger consumers.

However, younger consumers have been the first to seek out-of-home entertainment, flocking back to cinemas to see new major releases such as Cruella and Marvel’s Shang Chi and the Legend of the ten rings. Nearly half of returned cinemagoers this quarter were aged under 35. Pre-pandemic, they represented just over a third of theatrical attendees.

“We can see the pandemic’s impact as older audiences turned to Netflix for entertainment during the numerous lockdowns,” advises Minal Modha, Ampere Analysis Principal Analyst – Consumer Research Lead. “ As we emerge from the pandemic, it’s the younger demographics who are spearheading the return to the cinema in search of a more social viewing experience.”

The Tokyo Olympics delivered new fans

  • The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games led to new fan engagement with a growth in younger consumers self-identifying as fans of the games. While viewing is still driven by those aged over 45, a higher proportion of fans are now younger. Prior to the Summer Olympics earlier this year, 24 per cent of self-professed Olympics fans were under 35. By Q3 2021, this had grown to 28 per cent.
  • The Olympics proved popular among all sports fans, with one third of sports audiences saying they enjoyed watching the games on TV.

AVoD services on the rise in the US

  • Streaming boxes are cementing their role at the heart of TV viewing. Ownership of streaming boxes and sticks has increased by 18 per cent since Q3 2019, before the pandemic began.
  • Devices such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV or Google Chromecast are now in nearly two thirds of US Internet homes and half of UK Internet homes.
  • These devices facilitate access to an array of free-to-view and paid video services and are helping to drive adoption of a wider range of streaming products. In the crowded subscription market of the USA, Advertising-supported Video on Demand (AVoD) platforms are enjoying growth in engagement as users search for low-cost entertainment options.
  • 34 per cent of Internet users in the US have used an AVoD service such as Pluto TV, Tubi and The Roku Channel in the past month, compared to 17 per cent in Q3 2020.
  • Usage is growing particularly quickly among younger consumers. In Q3 2020, only 9 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds had watched AVoD services, compared to 30 per cent in Q3 2021.

“The growth in AVoD usage partly reflects how expensive the streaming market is becoming,” notes Modha. The fact that younger audiences are now engaging with AVoD will be welcome news for platform owners and will make the services even more attractive to brands.”


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