Social video is more important that TV for Generation Z

It won’t come as any surprise to parents of teens to hear that 13-24 year olds are watching more YouTube than traditional television.  A report from Defy Media showed that Millenials are turning away from TV towards online video with rate of digital video consumption is higher than ever.  Not only do they want to flex their muscles and be in charge of how they consume media, the research showed that they consider YouTube Influencers more relatable than traditional television and movie celebrities.

13-24 year-olds are watching 11.3 hours of free online video each week (from sites like YouTube) compared to 8.3 hours of scheduled TV.

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So what captures their attention?  Forget about show stopping moments – these days it’s all about the thumbstoppers.


If thumbstoppers are the track signals, then social media is the train.  Facebook is still the most often used network for Generation Z, despite a decline among teens.  Anecdotal evidence suggests teens reserve Facebook to stay in touch with family, so we can envision a future where Facebook is for family updates and Instagram is for peers.  The announcement this month at Instagram will allow users to post videos of up to 60 seconds (from 15 seconds) will see this popularity grow.



So what sort of content rocks the world of Generation Z? Rebellion and Reflection were two themes mentioned when youth described appealing video content.  Rebellion is a check on the mainstream or a message that you don’t have to grow up.  Youth in the study described this content as “random and hilarious”.  Reflection normalises common events and engenders relatable feelings of “that’s me!”.


And their weak spot?  Fear of being offline.  That’s the equivalent of being alone.  Native exposure to online content ad social media at a young age means digital is second nature to 13-24 year olds; they have a different understanding of “alone” and “sharing” to older generations.  For example, you’re never alone when you can go back and forth via text and social media in real time.  Watching a video “with other people” can mean texting each other while watching in different geographic locations.

So how do you get Generation Z to watch your video content?  Make it digital.  Make it relatable.  Make it available when they want it on a choice of devices.