Netflix is Most Popular Streaming Service Among Youth

young people
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A new survey from Horowitz highlights a wide variety of viewing patterns among younger viewers aged 13 to 24, including the fact that Netflix is the most popular streaming service among both the 18-24 and the 13-17 year old cohorts, followed by Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. 

Horowitz’s recently released FOCUS Generation Next report tracks the media lifestyles of Gen Z, providing a number of key insights for those seeking to attract younger viewers. It also details a number of notable differences in the media lifestyles of 18-24 year-old Gen Zers compared to their younger counterparts 13-17 years old. .  

For example, Gen Zers overall split their video viewing time rather evenly between professional TV content and non-TV content such as user-generated videos, with the 18-24 group spending 52% of their viewing time among professional TV content and 48% among short form. 

Gen Zers who are 13-17 spend a slightly greater proportion of their viewing time with non-TV content (47%) compared to professional TV content (53%). 

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Given that they spend more time with professionally produced TV content, Horowitz researchers reported that older Gen Zers are more likely than their younger counterparts to access that content through all types of platforms — subscription streaming services, free streaming services, virtual cable/satellite services like Sling TV or Hulu with Live TV, and traditional cable/satellite services — than those who are 13-17.  

Some of this may come down to access to both platforms and services, Horowitz found. For both Gen Z age groups, the smartphone is the device to which content is streamed the most on an everyday/almost everyday basis. Younger Gen Zers are less likely than their older counterparts to have TVs, smart displays such as Amazon Echo Shows, and gaming consoles in their own bedrooms; concomitantly, they are less likely than their older counterparts to be watching video content on those devices every day/almost every day.

The survey also found that when it comes to the services used to watch content, the fact that younger (13-17 year-old) Gen Zers are more dependent on their parents services, which leads to lower usage of some services like Hulu, Peacock and Paramount+. Meanwhile, 18-24 year-olds, more able to make independent decisions about the services they want to subscribe to, have access to a wider range of streaming options to enjoy.

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“We are often asked how media brands can engage with Gen Zers who seem to be so immersed in short-form content," explained Adriana Waterston, chief revenue officer and insights and strategy lead for Horowitz Research. "I like to remind them that this generation is not the first cohort of young people to be engaged in short-form content: The short-form genre was born in the ‘80s in the form of music videos, which captured the attention of young Gen Xers in much the same way TikTok videos engage Gen Zers. It’s no surprise that younger people, with lower attention spans, tend to be drawn to shorter-form content.”

“Further,” adds Waterston, “engagement with short form does not totally cannibalize long-form viewing. Young people today are still watching professionally produced TV content, just less of it compared even to older audiences within their generational cohort. And these data suggest that part of this is because they have less agency over what they can gain access to. As young people’s lifestyles change, as they enter new life stages, and as they develop different interests and needs, deeper engagement with long-form content across a range of genres will follow.”

The full FOCUS Generation Next 2022 report provides a comprehensive look at Gen Z’s relationships and behaviors around video content (long form, user generated, eSports, etc.), entertainment, relationships with brands, and what brands need to consider when looking to engage these politically aware digital natives. 

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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.