Online Video & Social Media are the new mainstream for Gen Z, says research

by | Feb 22, 2023 | News

A new survey by Hub Entertainment Research has confirmed what many digital first studios already know – that online media has replaced TV as the preferred destination for young audiences. Based on data from 1,900 US consumers, Hub found that 13-24 year-olds are watching less than half the TV that 35+ consumers do.

Asked how their screen-based entertainment time is allocated, 43% of the 35+ demo cited TV, with online videos and social media accounting for a combined 20%. By comparison, 17% of 13-24 year-olds cited TV compared to a massive 36% for online videos and social media. Of the two, online video came out higher (21% vs 15%).

Gaming was another key differentiator between the two groups, with 22% of 13-24 year-olds citing gaming as their top activity compared to 10% among the older demo. Movies was surprisingly resilient, scoring 14% among the younger demo compared to 17% among their older counterparts. Commenting, Jon Giegengack, Hub Entertainment Research principal & founder (pictured), said: “Gen Z is just as passionate about entertainment as their Gen X parents and Boomer grandparents. But they are content omnivores, and TV is just one of a constellation of things competing for their attention.”

Anecdotally, some observers have suggested that today’s younger consumers will migrate to TV as they settle down and have more disposable income. But Giegengack questions this assumption: “So far, there’s no reason to think they’ll outgrow their attachment to short form video or gaming as they get older,” he said.

Intriguingly, the threat to major media players isn’t just a question of online disruptors vs TV incumbents. According to Hub’s findings, YouTube also needs to be looking over its shoulder. Asked which platform they would choose if they could only keep one, 73% of Gen Z consumers said they would select TikTok over YouTube.

In another indication of the growing seriousness with which online/social media is being viewed, UK audience measurement company Barb has this week announced plans to start looking at video-sharing platforms alongside TV and VOD. The move follows extensive consultation with media industry stakeholders.

Barb CEO Justin Sampson said: “We don’t yet have all the answers for how and when we will extend our reporting of content on video-sharing platforms. But we hear a clear call to go further.” The news will be welcomed by digital first platforms and publishers which will soon be able to use Barb-generated data in their pitches to advertisers.

TellyCast content distribution

Sign up for The Drop newsletter to get news and insights direct to your inbox.