23 juin 2016

What Millennials’ YouTube Usage Tells Us about the Future of Video Viewership

Gillian Heltai
Senior VP

comScore and YouTube recently released a study, commissioned by Google and based on a survey of 2,940 respondents, on video content engagement and discovery that identified one particularly interesting segment of highly-engaged, highly-loyal YouTube users that we called “Die Hards.” Not surprisingly, these YouTube Die-Hards skew towards the Millennial (Age 18-34) demographic.

While YouTube’s success among this demographic is well-documented, this study provides several new insights about how Millennials view video content. Since Millennials tend to be more tech-savvy and exhibit early-adopter tendencies, what we see in their habits today is what we can expect for mainstream viewers tomorrow.

Findings from this deep-dive on Millennials’ video viewing habits reveal three broad themes about this audience segment:

  1. They state a preference for digital video to traditional TV
  2. They more routinely binge-watch content
  3. They are an attractive audience for advertisers due to high brand receptivity

Preference of Digital Video to Traditional TV

While Millennials are widely considered to consume more digital video than the average person, an impactful finding from this study revealed their stated preference of digital video to traditional TV (both live and time-shifted). In terms of time spent, traditional TV still eclipses digital video among Millennials. However, when asked to select their one preferred provider for any form of video content, YouTube was the leader among Millennials at 35%.

Millennials also preferred YouTube as their video destination of choice versus older viewers across a range of different content types, including movies and even current season TV shows. Contrary to the generally held belief that YouTube and TV sit on opposite ends of the content spectrum, we found that 1 in every 8 Millennials considers YouTube their preferred destination for watching “current season TV shows”.

Exhibit Binge-Watching Behavior

Millennials are heavier than average digital video viewers, and the study suggests that a key component of this is their much higher incidence of binge-viewing behavior. An astounding 37% of Millennials say they binge-watch on a daily basis vs. just 14% among those Age 35+.

But perhaps even more interesting is how they binge-watch. When asked what was the most recent platform they used to binge-watch, YouTube was indicated by more than twice as many respondents as traditional TV.

Higher Brand and Advertising Receptivity

Millennials are often painted as being highly skeptical of brands and less likely to be influenced by brand communications, but this study revealed several insights that ran counter to this conventional wisdom. While it may be the case that they’re more skeptical of broader mass communication from brands, many Millennials exhibit a more favorable response to brands that earn their loyalty and are relevant. 62% of Millennials indicated they take action after viewing an ad and 47% said they pay more attention when viewing personalized ads.

Implications for the Future of Video

How Millennials engage with media today provides an important glimpse into what mainstream viewing patterns will become over the next 5-10 years. With that in mind, this research points to several interesting implications.

Millennials tend to adopt a digital-first approach to video discovery and are platform agnostic in how they consume video. This suggests that today’s fragmented viewing environment will only become more so, and that digital will become increasingly significant in the distribution of viewing content. Video is also more likely to meet consumers’ desires to immerse themselves deeply in their passions, whether that means consuming a variety of on-demand content within the same genre or topic, or whether that means binge-viewing episode after episode of a favorite series. This is good news for advertisers because when consumers are deeply engaged with content, it’s a great opportunity for your brand message to resonate. Not to mention digital distribution provides a better ability to target the right audiences.

There is a lot we can learn by understanding the viewing patterns of Millennials, and this YouTube study helps shine a light on why the future of video is bright. 

For more info on the study, please see Google’s related blog post.