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Gen X/Y, Boomers watching less broadcast TV

The tide is turning, and it will help content producers to know exactly where their target demographics are currently consuming video. The New York Times and Pew Research Center this week released the results of a video survey, in which they talked to more than 4000 online video users. Who are the people watching your content, and where are they getting it from? The answers may surprise you. 

The survey was broken down between three age categories: Millennials, Gen X and Boomers. While you may know the demographics of a Baby Boomer (or may be one), you may be less familiar with the other two. Gen X is the generation born after the Western post-World War II baby boom, with birth dates generally between 1960 - 1980. Millennials are also know as Gen Y, and are commonly born after 1980. This particular demographic is the most alluring to just about anyone doing any marketing or advertising. They have disposable income and a good amount of time to consume. But they also are living in a post-broadcast world, a world where they are not rushing home for an 8 p.m. show but are instead streaming said show on a phone a week later while sitting in a coffee shop. 

The amount drop from broadcast, according to the survey, is dramatic. About 10 percent of Boomers watch mostly online video and no broadcast television. When you move to Gen X, the amount goes to 20 percent that watch online. Millennials go to a dramatic 34 percent. That means 34 percent of Gen Y watch no broadcast TV and get all their video from online — more than one-third. Where do they get their video from? The survey broke it down to 63 percent from video hosting sites (like YouTube), 44 percent from social media (Facebook, etc.), 29 percent from TV websites and 28 percent from news sites. Most were looking for and watching funny video clips and movies trailers, as well as a smaller groups searching for music videos and news/current events. 

The Pew Research Center nicely put together an online video (see what they did there?) of some of their survey stats.

Broadcast content producers can gain some good insight from these trends if they want to remain competitive in the next decade or so. To market to the curve of younger generations, not only is the place to be online, but the content should involve humor and be more short-form than hour epic. While it's not surprising to see people flock to YouTube and Facebook for videos, it is telling that the No. 3 source of videos are individual networks and providers websites. Looks like all those TV commercials to visit the website for more clips are really starting to pay off. 

Broadcast TV is clearly here to stay, but it does seem like online video watching is accelerating quickly, especially via specific demographics, so it's worth exploring and expanding into those areas before the next survey comes out.