Understanding The TV Habits Of Millennials

written by: Beth Principi

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shutterstock 73830238For perhaps the first time in history, the upcoming generation is challenging the classic television experience. For decades consumers have opted into an appointment TV format, but this practice was aimed at generations who grew up with little to no interactive technology impact. Enter the Millennial generation.

These extreme social media users and digital junkies don’t know a world that isn't fully connected. Gone are the days where cable was a perk and internet was dial-up; today’s technology is expected to be fast, connected and controllable.

Television is no exception. In order for service providers and industry innovators to thrive in the upcoming TV ecosystem, they need to track and monitor the future of television: The Millennials. The Millennials are setting a precedent for younger generations and will dictate where all TV goes in the future. This is best summed up by three words. Social, Video, Mobile.


Growing up in an interactive society, social technology has become second-nature to the Millennials. Because of this familiarity—and at some points boredom—with current interactive tech platforms, TV innovators have to consider how to capture this generation's attention in the most compelling way possible.

This doesn’t, as current history has shown, mean constructing a brand new social media platform, but it does mean taking current, familiar platforms and seamlessly integrating them within television programs in novel ways.

These collaborative applications must be ultra-compelling and provide some sort of recognition or reinforcement, as Millennials tend to have a shorter attention span due to endless technological options. It's not enough to try and force venues for conversation, socialization must be engaged with at all levels of production.


Another battle for the millennial generations’ attention involves their likelihood to cut cords, as it's often been shown, they are far more comfortable streaming content online or using over the top services. According to a report by the New York Times, 34% of Millennials watch mostly online video/no broadcast TV, compared to just 20% of Generation X and 10% of Baby Boomers.

This habit predicts a massive shift away from broadcast television, in which case service providers and all levels of the industry will finally need to respond in one of two ways: Find a way to pull viewers back into broadcast television or just adjust/admit to a changing landscape.

On the Go

This trend is further amplified by the fact that Millennials are indeed always on the go. According to a report conducted by The IPG Media Lab and YuMe, 32% of Millennials prefer to watch content while commuting. If they do find themselves in front of a television, a vast majority of Millennials will be simultaneously interacting with an alternative screen.

In fact, the same IPG/YuMe study found that 94% of Millennials multitask while using a smart device, while 49% said they are connected multitaskers who use multiple devices simultaneously. This generation is setting a new bar. Intelligent organizations need to track what younger generations are doing, analyze the data and use it to their advantage to increase viewership and create experiences based off of their consumption habit and not that of others.

It’s an exciting time in the television industry. For the first time companies aren't playing by their own rules, but by the rules of their audience. Because Millennials have been introduced to interactive technology at an extremely young age, moving forward everything must be interactive, on demand and accessible across devices—including TV! The Millennials will dictate where the industry moves in the future, so we better start paying attention!

Latest Articles from: Beth Principi

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