Eight in Ten Gen Z 13-24 Year-Olds Stream Longer-Form TV Content

(Image credit: iStock)

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y.—A new report from Horowitz Research highlights the importance of longer form TV content in the media habits of Gen Z 13 to 24 year old Americans, a group that has never known a world without the internet and are heavy consumers of social media, music streaming and short-form content. 

The Horowitz Research’s  “State of Gen Z 2021” study found that this group views long-form TV content with as much frequency as short-form video content. It found that eight in ten (78%) 13- to 24-year-olds stream TV content (TV shows, movies, sports, etc.) weekly, while 79% stream short-form content (short clips, user-generated content, video game live streams, videos on social media, etc.).

Even when looking at share of viewing, the Horowitz study found that Gen Z are splitting their viewing time rather evenly between long-form and short-form content, 46% and 54% of their time, respectively. Notably, 13- to 17-year-olds spend a slightly greater percentage of their time with short-form video content compared to 18- to 24-year-olds, who spend their time split evenly between the two formats.

Contrary to popular belief, not all of this viewing is happening on a smartphone, the Horowitz study found. Virtually all (91%) of Gen Z use their smartphone every day/almost every day, and two in three (66%) also use a TV set every day/almost every day. In fact, the study reported that 6 in 10 Gen Zers have a TV set in their own bedrooms.

Gen Zers use an average of 5.5 streaming services to stream TV content, fewer services than among adult streamers, who average 7.5 services used regularly, Horowitz reported. 

While Netflix is the most popular streaming service—with over three-quarters (78%) of Gen Z streamers using it regularly—other SVOD services, including Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and HBO Max, are also heavily used, as are free services like YouTube (for TV content) and The Roku Channel. 

The most popular TV genres among Gen Zers include movies, animated series/cartoons, dramas and anime, and live TV content still has a role among Gen Zers, with 55% saying they watch at least some live TV content on a weekly basis, the report found. 

“It’s important for marketers to keep in mind that media consumption among Gen Z is not about absolutes; it’s not true that they ‘never’ watch long-form TV content, that they ‘never’ use a screen other than their phones, or that they ‘never’ watch live TV,” noted Adriana Waterston, chief revenue officer and insights & strategy lead at Horowitz. “Understanding that there are nuances of Gen Z’s media habits gives marketers and media brands the opportunity to increase engagement and create unique experiences for this generation of digital natives across multiple platforms and through a variety of formats. While the platforms and technologies they have are different, we all share the desire to sit back at times and be drawn into compelling, high-quality long-form entertainment.”

More information on the study is available here

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.