Teen Television Consumption Drops by Half in 5 Years: Study

6:30 AM 8/10/2018

by Natalie Jarvey

Generation Z is embracing digital entertainment at an unprecedented rate, representing a seismic generational shift in consumption habits that is radically transforming the media landscape: "There's no putting the genie back in the bottle."

Nickelodeon's 'Henry Danger'
Nickelodeon's 'Henry Danger'
Mathieu Young/Nickelodeon

Teens have long wielded soft influence over Hollywood. But today's youth is at the center of the biggest shift in consumption habits that the video industry has seen. The post-millennial cohort known as Gen Z (anyone between the ages of approximately 8 and 22) is abandoning linear TV at faster rates than predicted even a few years ago.

Teens are watching 49 percent less traditional television than they did five years ago, Nielsen revealed July 31 in the latest installment of its Total Audience Report. But that doesn't mean they aren't watching TV programming — they're just watching it in a different way. Usage 
of internet-connected devices among teens is at around three hours a 
week, up from around two hours just a year ago.

It's no wonder that Nickelodeon owner Viacom is buying up digital brands, and Disney CEO Bob Iger — who recently said the disruption of the pay TV business had a "faster and more profound impact than we ever expected" — has placed outsized importance on its upcoming family-friendly streaming service, which is 
set to launch in late 2019 and is being run by longtime marketing chief Ricky Strauss.

"Media companies are losing viewership on the tradi­tional pay TV side driven by this preference younger people have for watching digitally," says eMarketer analyst Paul Verna. "There's no putting that genie back in the bottle."

  • Pay TV

  • Select Media

     

  • Streaming

  • Weekly Screen Time

     

  • Facebook

     

  • Video Games

     

  • Traditional TV

     

    This story first appeared in the Aug. 8 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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