Digital Viewing Steadily Increases Across Multiple Age Groups

Digital viewing is growing across age groups as traditional TV viewing declines, according to eMarketer. The researcher estimates that 64.8 million millennials will watch digital video this year at least once a month, a projection expected to reach 66.8 million by 2022. Meanwhile, 59 million millennials are expected to watch traditional TV in 2018, a figure projected to decline in coming years. The trend is growing with Gen X in the U.S. as well; eMarketer projects that 51.8 million (representing more than three-quarters of the Gen X population) will watch digital video at least once a month. And kids 11 and younger? Not surprisingly, 24.2 million with turn to digital viewing this year.

That number is expected to grow to 25.7 million by 2020. “Kids rely heavily on both YouTube and Netflix for their digital entertainment,” reports eMarketer. “According to June 2018 research from Smarty Pants, kids ages 6 to 12 ranked YouTube as their No. 1 favorite brand and Netflix as No. 2. These rankings top any toy, candy or video game brand.”

The research also shows a steady increase in digital viewing — and a steady decrease in TV viewing — by teens ages 12-17, two trends expected to continue over the next few years.

According to an infographic by eMarketer for August 2018, digital video viewing is ranked in the following order: ages 25-34 (41 million), ages 35-44 (35.5 million), ages 45-54 (31.7 million), ages 18-24 (29.3 million) and ages 11 and under (24.2 million).

“Just like kids and teens, millennials are shifting away from traditional TV,” eMarketer explains in another post. “An April 2018 study conducted by ThinkNow Research, revealed that millennial Internet users were more likely to watch TV shows on Netflix and YouTube than watch a live show on network TV.”

Millennials represent the “core demographic of digital video viewership,” and as such, commonly use a range of devices. “Millennial Internet users who watch more than 3 hours of video content are more likely to use a computer, connected TV or even a gaming console to do so than their younger or older cohorts, according to a June 2018 Magid survey.”

Research shows that Gen Xers are following a similar path as their younger counterparts. “Gen Xers’ adoption of subscription OTT services and smart TVs have really taken off over the past few years,” said analyst Chris Bendtsen. “These trends haven’t necessarily added a whole lot to the generation’s digital video audience size overall, but subscription services and smart TVs have affected the number of traditional TV viewers in this age group.”

“Millennials aren’t the only ones cutting the cord, and over the next few years the gap in the number of traditional TV vs. digital video viewers will slowly close as some Gen Xers quit cable and satellite in favor of OTT,” he said.