Video and TV-connected devices are Millenials haertbeat

Animoto’s blog reminded an interesting thought. One day last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that ten years ago, most of what we shared and consumed online was text. Now it’s photos, and first of all video. We see a world that is video first with video at the heart of all our apps and services. In 2017 video-first  has become a reality for consumers and marketers alike. When it comes to consumers of new media, the main target is Millenials.

We read headlines about Millennials daily, but it’s not every day that brand strategists are able to hear directly from the largest generational group all over the world, as Forbes magazine notes. Brands succeed when they start a conversation that someone wants to join. Millenials are a big challenge for the video, digital tv market. We can notice slow death of cable TV, we can call Millenials The Netflix Generation.


Picture 1: Netflix Generation (VisualCapitalist, Nielsen, Yahoo,Toluna)

According to the Animoto survey (1,000 consumers and 500 marketers were examined to find out how video is making an impact in today’s golden age of video) we can take some assumptions:

  • If you want to succeed in the market you need to strategy into the video and direct your offer to the Millenials
  • 64% of consumers say watching a marketing video on Facebook has influenced a purchase decision in the last month.
  • 92% of marketers make videos with assets they already have.
  • 81% of marketers are optimizing their social videos for mobile viewership, including 39% that are creating square and/or vertical videos.
  • Marketers feel the most confident about reaching customers with video on Facebook and YouTube. Consumers are still viewing on these platforms, but are also starting to expand the platforms where they’re watching branded video content. The top three channels they’re watching videos from brands are Facebook, Instagram Stories, and Snapchat.

What the consumption of video by young people loks like? Let’s look at some statistics. According to the AOL people ages 18-34 (classical Millennials) only watch 19 hours and 18 minutes of TV each week. That’s less than the nearly 31 hours watched by the 35-49 age group, and less than half the 46 hours and 32 minuted of TV watched each week by people ages 50 and over. Other interesting conclusions come from the Mediapost study. Two years ago, the reach among total viewers of multimedia devices was only 10% as high as the reach of traditional TV. In this it is 36% as high. Two years from now, it may be more than 50% as high.

What is the specifics of Millennials market? First of all, they are digital natives. According to the Business Insider it means that they grew up with a level of technological literacy that’s fairly new to the market. Social media is their heartbeat. Even just six years ago in 2011, the average 18-24 year old millennial consumed about 25 hours of traditional television per week In 2017 they consume a lot less, closer to 14 hours. We are seeing their interest in shorter forms of content such as serialized web and YouTube segments. Preferred forms are a mere six to ten minutes in length.

Mobile and TV-connected devices

TV still constitutes the majority of video consumption to Millenials, according to Nielsen survey.  But much more valuable is other screen:  smartphone, tablet, game console. TV-connected devices like DVD players, VCRs, digital streaming devices compose four times the percentage of Millennials’ total video minutes than adults 35 and older. TV-connected devices account for 23% of Millennials’ total time with video, compared with just 6% for consumers 35 and older. And as a result, Millennials spend about 27% less time watching traditional TV (89% among 35+ vs. 66% among Millennials). Nielsen’s recent Millennial Media Advisors Report notes that TV ads have an average memorability of 38% among Millennials, 10 percentage points lower than among Gen X’ers 35 and over (48%).

millennials media

Picture 2: Video weekly minutes (The Nielsen company)

Analyzing Nielsen Comparable Metrics for 2014-2017  it’s obvious that connected device video usage will grow higher in 2017. For the average adult between 18-34, usage increased 25% between Q2 2014 and 2015, and another 18% Q2 2015 to 2016. The average millennial (see note below) watched 613 minutes a week (1 hour 28 minutes a day) of video on their connected devices. With the fast growth of SVOD and other online video services, that is liable to increase another 15-20% in 2017. That would see the average 18-34-year-old watching around 1 hour and 45 minutes a day on connected devices.

The smartphone will remain the connected device with the most video reach, at 65%. The tablet will also do well in the age group, reaching 27% of 18-34s. This is doubly impressive as tablet sales have slowed dramatically from their highs 3 years ago. Annual iPad shipments exceeded 70 million in 2013, but fell under 50 million in the 2015 and 2016.


Picture 3: Millenials vieving 2014-2017 (Screen Media, Nielsen)

Millenials multitasking behaviour

Other Nielsen’s Millennials on Millennials Report shows the generation as a distracted audience in terms of their viewing behavior. Channel-surfing has traditionally demarcated distraction. Publication authors found that less than 2% of millennials watching TV changed the channel during commercials. For comparison, older generations doubled and quadrupled that percentage. Though they didn’t channel surf during commercials, millennials scored low memorability rates for what they watched. This indicates a major shift in viewing patterns, and all signs point to mobile devices. Nielsen analytics reports that millennials are still watching TV in the traditional sense, but they’re simultaneously tuned into TV-connected devices. That number leaps from 46% to 75% when the content they’re viewing is free.

For a large part of Millennials multitasking is the new relaxing form.  Gen X and baby boomer viewers focused their attention on the TV but changed the channel. On the other side Millennials were reportedly more likely to scroll through their phones or open new tabs on their personal laptops. This culture (perhaps a new habit) of multitasking often has 18-34 year olds switching between devices. Directly from phones via tablets to smart TVs. Millennials are plugged-in and synced across their devices, and this division of attention can actually prove to benefit strategic ad campaigns. If your ad content is relevant to a popular TV broadcast, you can leverage that by promoting a post in real-time, across social channels, by targeting that specific audience.

New form of content need

Among Millennials, social media stars are becoming synonymous with the word celebrity, as Forbes found in their market reaserch. In a write-in section of our custom survey, numerous respondents named several social media stars multiple times when asked. When tested against mainstream stars, social media stars hold their own in terms of celebrity status. According to Nielsen’s N-Score, a measure of a celebrity’s marketability, male Millennials have a higher opinion of trending social media stars than they do for sports stars, pop stars, actors and actresses. You should also look at the conclusions and some key takeways of the Deloiite study:

  • Skinny bundles, less costly subscriptions are becoming a popular offering by a select group of channels, i.e. traditional cable and satellite companies, as well as by over-the-top (OTT) providers like Netflix or Amazon.
  • We are seeing an interest in shorter forms of content such as serialized web and YouTube segments that are a mere six to ten minutes in length.
  • Advertisers are experimenting. Ads can blast out a brief message, or longer, creating a sense of drama and telling a story. More sponsorships or product placements within content are evident.
  • Content creators have a relationship with the end consumer like never before and derived insights about users allow for content and ads to be more personalized.
  • Companies that can figure out how to push discovery of their content to consumers or help them discover it for themselves will have a leg up in this competitive space.


Source: Animoto, Deloitte, Nielsen.

Graphic: Foundation for Economic Education