Advanced Television

Research: For Gen Z, everything is entertainment

January 30, 2024

As the first native smartphone generation, Gen Z consumers are entertainment omnivores. Their handheld devices allow them immediate access to a wealth of platforms and content and they are taking full advantage.

The latest 2023 results of Hub  Entertainment Research’s annual Video Redefined survey shows that unlike their older counterparts for whom TV and movies still dominate entertainment time, Gen Z devotes as much time to gaming, social media, and non-premium video as they do to traditional TV and films.

Smartphones dominate as Gen Z’s choice for viewing video:

  • Nearly twice as many Gen Z consumers use a smartphone to watch video in a typical week as they use a traditional MVPD set-top box.

Gaming, non-premium video, and social media compete on equal terms with TV and movies for Gen Z’s entertainment time:

  • Given their overwhelming use of smartphones, it’s not surprising the proportion of Gen Z’s entertainment time spent watching TV is less than half that of viewers over 35. Gaming, non-premium video and social media are on par with TV and movies among young viewers.
  • While older viewers still watch more traditional TV, a third of them admit that their use of non-premium video has cut into their ‘regular’ TV viewing time.

Gen Z watches considerably more non-premium video, but older viewers are catching up:

  • Gen Z viewers spend nearly two hours a day watching non-premium video (short form, user generated, influencer, etc.), considerably more than older adults. But people 35 and up are watching significantly more non-premium video than they were a year ago – two more hours a week – largely to keep up to date on news and other current topics of interest.

Gen Z uses Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat, but everyone uses YouTube:

More than eight in 10 of all viewers use YouTube in a given week. But compared to those 35+, twice as many Gen Zs use Instagram and TikTok, and three times as many use Snapchat to watch video.

Viewers make important distinctions among social video platforms:

  • People who use multiple social platforms recognise that each delivers unique benefits. TikTok delivers on short, trendy entertainment, while YouTube’s extensive library is a place to go for informative content.

“There’s no doubt that younger viewers are not as devoted to traditional TV and movies as previous generations have been,” states Mark Loughney, Senior Consultant for Hub. “This presents one more challenge to legacy media companies as they navigate the future of the video ecosystem. “It would be futile for them to try to claw back time from non-traditional platforms, so instead media companies should look to social media as opportunities to reach Gen Z with premium content.”

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