- Millennials spend 55% of their TV-viewing time watching content after it's already aired live, according to a study from the Consumer Technology Association. People between 18 and 34 spend 45% of that time watching live TV, compared with 66% for people older than 35.
- The age group spends 35% of that time watching streaming services like Netflix or on-demand video from pay TV, per the study, and another 20% watching recorded shows on a digital video recorder.
- One in four U.S. viewers has learned about new content through predictive recommendations made by the content platform, but millennials are more likely to try that content, with 79% saying they've watched shows suggested for them.
The trend toward time-shifted programming and fast-forwarding through TV commercials has been steady since the age of the VCR, a nearly obsolete device that has been supplanted by on-demand programming. Millennials clearly embrace this time-shifted content — likely for its convenience and relative lack of commercials — with a minority of the demographic preferring live programming. As a way of capturing those elusive audiences, broadcasters have put an emphasis on live programming like sporting events, award shows and contests that encourage user interaction via a second screen.
Millennials are not the only demographic group watching less TV for mobile entertainment alternatives, including videogames and social media apps that let users interact with friends mid-show. The trend includes other demographic groups as well. The share of consumers of all ages who watch live TV at least once a week has shrunk to 80% this year from 92% in 2014, according to the CTA study.
Traditional TV-viewing by 18- to 24-year-olds dropped by almost 12 hours a week, or by roughly 1 hour and 40 minutes per day from Q1 2011 to Q1 2017, according to Nielsen. Weekly live TV-viewing averaged 13 hours and 2 minutes a week in Q1 2017, while DVR and time-shifted viewing averaged 1 hour and 29 minutes a week, according to Marketing Charts.
Despite all the hubbub on streaming content, marketers looking to reach a wide range of age groups should take into account that many consumers still view live TV and could benefit from attracting audiences via creative methods fit specifically for that target demographic.