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The ‘Streaming Generations’ Present New Challenges For M&E Marketers

Today’s connected consumers are disrupting the media and entertainment industry. They view content anytime and anywhere, and, according to a new Deloitte study, the one and only constant across generations is change.

Indeed, new devices, advanced technology, and more flexible options for consumption are impacting habits across all age groups. Additionally, attitudes toward advertising are changing along with the way consumers make their buying decisions.

Deloitte’s 11th annual “Digital Democracy Survey” surveyed 2,131 U.S. consumers to get a better understanding how people are consuming content online. The key finding: Millennials and Generation Z are quickly flocking toward streaming and mobile consumption.

“This heavy migration toward streaming and mobile consumption presents a new challenge for M&E marketers,” said Kevin Westcott, Deloitte’s U.S. media and entertainment lead. “In a lot of cases, streaming is advertising-free. Marketers are now challenged with looking for ways to reach those generations in this new environment.”

According to the study, 49% of U.S. consumers and nearly 60% of Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X subscribe to at least one paid streaming video service. However, the survey notes that despite the growth of paid streaming services, U.S. consumers spend more time streaming video via free services (40%) than paid streaming subscriptions (35%). A vast majority of consumers in the U.S. still subscribe to cable or satellite television services, with 66% saying they keep it because it is bundled with their Internet service.

Deloitte also uncovered that binge-watching is becoming the norm. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of U.S. consumers and nearly 90% of Millennials and Gen Z have binge-watched video content. Here’s the surprising part: Almost 40% of Millennial and Gen Z binge-watchers do so weekly. They report watching an average of six episodes, or five hours of content, in a single sitting.

The device of choice for key demographics remains split; Gen Z and Millennials spend about half their time watching television shows and movies on devices other than a TV. The older generations still favor TV, with 60% of Gen X and 80% of Baby Boomers saying it’s their device of choice.  

Nearly all (99%) Millennials and Gen Z are multitasking while watching TV, averaging four additional activities, such as texting, browsing the Web, or using social media.

Deloitte found that social media is incredibly important to Gen Z and Millennials not only for keeping in touch with friends, but also for deciding what content they want to consume. More than 90% of Gen Z and Millennials are on social networks, and more than half of them use these networks to learn about new TV shows, citing it to be more useful than TV commercials.

In addition, 33% of Millennials and Gen Z get their news primarily from social media, with a mere 21% saying that TV is still their most popular news platform. Additionally, more than 70% of Millennials have used social media to interact with corporate customer service in the past year; 71% of those that have used social media to resolve customer service issues believe they will get a better company response because it’s public.

“My advice to folks who are marketing in this space is you need to think about your outreach in a very holistic manner of how do you actually create communities around your products or your brands in the social space, tying that with your overall marketing plans,” Wescott said.

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