The Future of Media Consumption

Marketers are pretty well aware of the shift away from traditional media consumption with the younger generations of today. Yet the shift in what kind of video programming or how much video is consumed isn’t as large as the change in how video is consumed. Kids don’t have their eyes glued so much to the TV set as they do to their tablets and mobile devices.

A recent *article published on basically likens the college dorm room to a crystal ball telling the future of how media will be consumed. Missing from dorm rooms and probably adolescent rooms across the country is the once coveted television set.

Now they ask for their own laptops, tablets and cell phones.

According to Nielsen’s latest “Total Audience Report”:

Teens (12-17) watched 15 hours and 36 minutes of traditional TV per week in Q4, a rather large 14.5% drop year-over-year and a 29.8% contraction from 2011
Older Millennials (25-34) watched 23 hours and 12 minutes per week in Q3, a 6.7% decrease year-over-year and a 22.5% drop from 2011
Gen Xers (35-49) watched 31 hours and 25 minutes per week, just a 3% decrease year-over-year and an 8.3% contraction from 2011
Adults aged 50-64 watched 42 hours and 59 minutes per week, a 1.1% increase year-over-year a 1.7% rise from Q4 2011
Adults aged 65 and older watched 50 hours and 53 minutes per week, up 1.8% from the previous year and up almost 8% from 2011

This is not to conclude that television is dying. Traditional television viewing is dropping among the younger audience but it doesn’t mean they are less interested in television. “They [college students] are more interested in television than any generation we have seen, they are just not watching on sets,” stated Jeffrey Cole, director of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Center for the Digital Future stated. Cole estimates less than 20% of their TV watching is live. Instead, Forrester data show that U.S. students ages 18 to 22 spend two hours a day streaming video; 12% of students are using their phones to stream.

Generally, television sets are on for multiple hours a day remaining a huge platform for marketers to reach audiences. The decline in traditional television viewing is a very slow decline at that. But with Millennials estimated at being a larger generation than the two before them, they will have a large pull as to where marketer dollars are placed. Digital advertising is the fastest growing sector of the advertising industry following the behavioral trend of increased video consumption on mobile and streaming devices.

*AdvertisingAge, April 2016 “Dorm Rooms Go TV-Set-Free as Millennials Change Their Habits