Report: Millennials Flock to Digital Content, Online Celebrities


LOS ANGELES: In a recent survey of media consumption behaviors of viewers 13 to 24, DEFY Media has found that the Internet is the dominant platform of choice for Millennials, who report that digital delivers more relatable and entertaining programming.

According to the survey, 69 percent of viewers 13 to 24 state digital delivers the content they want to watch and that they can relate to (67 percent) versus TV, which garnered 56 percent and 41 percent, respectively. These feelings correlate to their actual viewing behaviors. The findings show Millennials watching 11.3 hours of free online video and 10.8 hours of subscription online video weekly, nearly twice the time reported for free online TV offerings from broadcast and cable networks (6.4 hours) or 8.3 for regularly scheduled TV. More importantly, while 96 percent of those surveyed say they watch online video, only 57 percent watch free online TV and 56 percent watch recorded TV. Videos on YouTube and similar sites are rated “entertaining” by 76 percent of 13- to 24-year-olds, compared to just 55 percent for free online TV offerings from broadcast and cable networks.

Millennials are particularly drawn to online celebrities, notably YouTube talents. Among the younger 13-to-17 segment, 32 percent responded they are more likely to look up to a YouTube personality over traditional celebrities, while the older 18-to-24 set reported a slightly higher affinity towards TV and movie stars (36 percent versus 26 percent for YouTubers). Of that same group, 52 percent reported they still “feel closer” to their favorite YouTubers and nearly half (46 percent) stated “they like the same things I do,” while that figure jumps to 61 percent for 13- to 17-year-olds.

“We focused this year’s report on a younger viewing audience often overlooked by researchers in terms of their actual content habits and preferences, yet, such a powerful force driving the massive shifts rapidly taking place across the industry,” commented Andy Tu, the executive VP of marketing at DEFY Media. “While it should come as no surprise that this generation is spending more time online than any other medium, the study shows how wide the divide is—and importantly, 'why' these consumers are creating a deeper connection with digital content.”

Tu added, “Whether you’re a marketer or a content creator, the results magnify the growing influence of these Millennial consumers and further affirmation that traditional media is falling short with this audience.”