Horowitz: Gen Z Consumers Use More Than 6 Streaming Services, Prefer Professional Video Content

Generation Z, the 13-24-year-old demo with a penchant for streaming YouTube videos and social media, is growing up — at least when it comes to their entertainment content choices. New data from Horowitz Research finds that the Gen Zers are heavily engaged with professional, full-length TV content.

The study — based on an online survey of 812 Gen Z respondents — suggests Gen Z audiences are almost as likely to be viewers of professionally produced TV content as they are non-professional content (e.g., short clips, user-generated content, video game live streams, videos on social media). About 80% of the demo report watching short- form videos weekly, while 70% say that they watch TV content every week. The data are similar for both older (18-24 year-old) and younger (13-17 year-old) Gen Zers.

More than half of Gen Z consumers typically watch professionally produced, long-form TV content on their TV sets, while more than 33% say they usually consume TV content on their smartphones.

Not surprisingly, the smartphone is the most coveted portable device, used among 65% of the Gen Z demo to watch non-TV content. Yet, about 20% usually watch non-TV/short-form content on their TVs, with older members of the Gen Z demo watching more content on the TV screen.

Horowitz found that the average Gen Z streamer accessed more than six streaming services, up from five in 2020. Usage of free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) services is on the rise, with the Roku Channel, Tubi, and Pluto TV being the most popular FAST services among this demo.

The most popular TV content genres included movies, animated series/cartoons (not anime), dramas, and music-related content, with older consumers reporting higher viewership across most of these genres than younger users.

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“What is interesting to us is thinking about how [Gen Z] might bring their short-form behaviors to the big screen, and to their expectations when viewing long-form content and what that might mean from a content development, user experience, and revenue perspective,” Adriana Waterston, EVP and insights and strategy lead for Horowitz Research, said in a statement.

Horowitz is hosting a free webinar on Gen Z’s behaviors around video content, social media, and sociopolitical issues, and how brands can engage with them.

Hub: Gen Z Entertainment Choices, Device Use More Varied Than Older Cohorts

There’s a fundamental shift in how the next generation of consumers defines “entertainment,” according to data from Hub Entertainment Research.

Gen Z spends more time watching non-premium video and playing video games than watching TV, according to Hub. Unlike their parents — for whom “must see TV” was not just a pasttime but a cultural touchstone — TV is just one of a constellation of on-screen activities for those under 25. In fact, those over 35 say they spend more than double the time on TV shows that Gen Z does, Hub found. And Gen Z respondents spend more time on both gaming (22%) and non-premium videos on platforms such as YouTube (21%) than they do watching TV shows (17%).

Gen Z doesn’t watch cable much, according to Hub. Gen Z consumers spend about one-fifth of their screen time watching through apps on a smart-TV (the same as their older counterparts), but only 8% of their time goes to watching shows through a cable box (compared with 31% among older viewers). And they spend more time watching on their cell phone than on any other screen.

Platforms such as YouTube face the prospect of being left behind, according to Hub. YouTube has flourished as viewers spend more time on non-premium video. But for Gen Z, TikTok has become a go-to destination in a very short amount of time. Among Gen Z consumers who use both platforms, 54% say they spend more time on TikTok (and 40% spend “a lot more time”), and 73% say that if they could only use one, they’d keep TikTok. More than half of Gen Z viewers say they watch less “regular” TV because of the time they spend watching non-premium video.

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“Gen Z is just as passionate about entertainment as their Gen X parents and Boomer grandparents,” Jon Giegengack, principal and Hub founder, said in a statement. “But they are content omnivores, and TV is just one of a constellation of things competing for their attention. Most importantly: so far, there’s no reason to think they’ll outgrow their attachment to short form video or gaming as they get older.”

Gen Z Splits Viewing Evenly Between Professional TV and Non-TV Content

Gen Zers overall split their video viewing time rather evenly between professional TV content and non-TV content, such as user-generated videos, according to Horowitz Research’s recently released Focus Generation Next report.

Gen Zers who are 13-17 spend a slightly greater proportion of their viewing time with non-TV content, while older Gen Zers (18-24) are more likely to devote a greater proportion of viewing time to professional TV content.  

Given that they spend more time with professionally produced TV content, older Gen Zers are more likely than their younger counterparts to access that content through all types of platforms — subscription streaming services, free streaming services, virtual cable/satellite services such as Sling TV or Hulu + Live TV, and traditional cable/satellite services — than those who are 13-17.  

Some of this may come down to access to both platforms and services. For both Gen Z age groups, the smartphone is the device to which content is streamed the most on an everyday/almost everyday basis. Younger Gen Zers are less likely than their older counterparts to have TVs, smart displays such as Amazon Echo Shows, and gaming consoles in their own bedrooms; concomitantly, they are less likely than their older counterparts to be watching video content on those devices every day/almost every day.

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When it comes to the services used to watch content, the fact that younger (13-17 year-old) Gen Zers are more dependent on their parents plays a role in which services they can use, which leads to lower usage of services such as Hulu, Peacock and Paramount+. Meanwhile, 18- to 24-year-olds, more able to make independent decisions about the services they want to subscribe to, have access to a wider range of streaming options.

“We are often asked how media brands can engage with Gen Zers who seem to be so immersed in short-form content,” Adriana Waterston, chief revenue officer and insights and strategy lead for Horowitz Research, said in a statement. “I like to remind them that this generation is not the first cohort of young people to be engaged in short-form content: The short-form genre was born in the ’80s in the form of music videos, which captured the attention of young Gen Xers in much the same way TikTok videos engage Gen Zers today. It’s no surprise that younger people with lower attention spans tend to be drawn to shorter-form content.

“Further, engagement with short form does not totally cannibalize long-form viewing. Young people today are still watching professionally produced TV content, just less of it compared even to older audiences within their generational cohort. And these data suggest that part of this is because they have less agency over what they can gain access to. As young people’s lifestyles change, as they enter new life stages, and as they develop different interests, deeper engagement with long-form content across a range of genres will follow.”

The full Focus Generation Next 2022 report was published in November 2022 and surveyed 800 Gen Zers (13-24 year-olds) in the United States.

Study: Young People More Engaged by Brand-Boosting YouTube Videos Than Traditional Advertising

Brands that want to reach Gen Z and young millennials might have a better shot by placing products in influential YouTube videos.

That’s according to “neuroscience intensity research” from Fullscreen conducted in partnership with research lab MediaScience. The study evaluated Gen Z and young millennials’ attention to and response to traditional brand advertising versus YouTube branded influencer videos, as well as the impact of the two kinds of brand boosting. It used physiological response tracking tools in a lab setting to monitor 128 subjects ages 13-24 while they watched both a TV sitcom and YouTube videos and were exposed to advertising as it would naturally appear in those two separate environments. Study metrics included eye tracking, biometrics, facial coding and post-exposure survey.

Key findings include:

  • Branded influencer videos are on par with the 30 second TV spot on biometric intensity and joy.
  • While viewing branded influencer videos, 93% of the time consumers’ eyes were locked on the content; this is 30% higher than the experience viewing a brand pre-roll ad. This high attention also correlated to 2 times higher levels of brand recall than brand pre-roll ads.
  • Teens are 18% more likely to “like” branded influencer videos than young millennials.
  • Branded influencer videos delivered higher levels of brand attitude (10% more than TV; 9% more than pre-roll) and brand loyalty (10% more than TV; 13% more than pre-roll) than traditional brand formats.
  • Brand Influencer videos yield stronger recommendation levels compared to TV (10% more) and pre-roll (13% more).


“Studying the biometric responses of Gen Z and young millennials allows us to understand what types of advertising formats are making an emotional connection and impact,” said Pete Stein, general manager, Fullscreen, in a statement. “Our study found that influencer branded content delivers TV-like emotions, higher attention than pre-roll, and stronger brand impact across the board that hints at a deeper level of connection between audience and format. Today’s youth audiences are a complex mix of ad avoiders and brand advocates. Marketers need nuanced approaches to effectively impact them.”

Deloitte Report: More Than Half of U.S. Households Subscribe to Video Streaming Service

American consumers’ appetite for streaming video continues to grow, with 55 percent of U.S. households now subscribing to at least one video streaming service, a 450 percent increase since 2009, according to a report from Deloitte.

Americans watch 38 hours per week of video content (39 percent of which is streamed), nearly the equivalent of a full-time job, according to Deloitte’s Digital Media Trends Survey. With more than 200 streaming video-on-demand options in the United States, the average streaming video subscriber is paying for three services, resulting in U.S. consumers collectively spending $2.1 billion per month on SVOD services. Nearly half (48 percent) of all U.S. consumers stream television content every day or weekly, up 11 percent year-over-year, according to the report.

The 12th edition of Deloitte’s Digital Media Trends survey provides insight into how five generations of U.S. consumers interact with media, products and services, mobile technologies and the internet. This year’s U.S. data was collected in November 2017 and employed an online methodology among 2,088 consumers.

The survey found pay TV subscriptions declined for the first time in recent years with 63 percent of households still subscribing to a traditional Pay TV service, down from 75 percent. Pay TV’s decline is especially pronounced among Generation Z (ages 14-20), Millennials (ages 21-34) and Generation X (ages 35-51).

“Consumers now enjoy unparalleled freedom in selecting media and entertainment options and their expectations are at an all-time high,” said Kevin Westcott, vice chairman and U.S. media and entertainment leader, Deloitte LLP, in a statement. “The rapid growth of streaming services and high quality original content has created a significant opportunity to monetize the on-demand environment in 2018.”

Pay TV is too expensive for what it offers, according to more than two-thirds of consumers. Nearly half (46 percent) of all pay TV subscribers said they are dissatisfied with their service and 70 percent of consumers feel they get too little value for their money. Among respondents who said they no longer have a pay TV subscription, 27 percent reported they cancelled their service within the last year. Furthermore, 22 percent of millennials say they have never subscribed to a pay TV service. Twenty-two percent of all consumers without pay TV say they don’t watch enough TV to justify the expense and another 19 percent say they simply cannot afford it. Fifty-six percent of current pay TV subscribers say they keep their pay TV because it’s bundled with their home internet access.

“As video streaming and demand for original content continue to grow, traditional and premium cable broadcasters will continue to rethink their business models,” Westcott stated. “Media companies are increasingly going direct-to-consumer with their own digital streaming services and snackable content. Ultimately, one challenge we see is that consumers may be reluctant to pay for exclusive content on top of their other paid subscription services and this may lead to some form of re-aggregation as limits on consumer spending could potentially hinder the growth of content platforms.”

This year’s data indicates a convergence of media behavior across three key demographics, according to the report. Gen X emerged as cutting-edge adopters of digital media, embracing the digital media behaviors already adopted by Gen Z and millennials. Deloitte calls this combined demographic group “The MilleXZials.” Other findings:

  • Seventy percent of Gen Z households had a streaming subscription, closely followed by millennials at 68 percent and Gen X at 64 percent, respectively;
  • About 70 percent of Gen Z and millennials stream movies compared with 60 percent of Gen X on a weekly basis;
  • Binge-watching behavior also witnessed a convergence among MilleXZials, with 91 percent of Gen Z, 86 percent of millennials and 80 percent of Gen X binge watching TV shows and more than 40 percent of millennials binge watching weekly (an average of seven episodes and six hours in a single setting);
  • Ninety-six percent of MilleXZials multitask while watching TV.

“Millennials were the first generation to embrace streaming media and watching video content on smartphones,” said Dr. Jeff Loucks, executive director, Deloitte Center for Technology, Media and Telecommunications, Deloitte LLP, in a statemen. “Some hoped that as millennials got older, they would settle down and watch pay TV. Instead, their Gen X parents are acting more like millennials, using streaming services, watching TV shows, movies and sports on smartphones and binge watching.”

Lastly, consumers are increasingly concerned about putting their personal data online. The study found 69 percent of consumers believe that companies are not doing everything they can to protect their personal data. However, 73 percent of all consumers said they would be more comfortable sharing their data if they had some visibility and control, and 93 percent of U.S. consumers believe they should be able to delete their online data when they want.