Almost half of all millennials prefer multiscreen viewing

DetailsMichelle Clancy | 09 January 2015

Strike one for the rise of multiscreen behaviour: just 55% of millennials now use TVs as their primary viewing platform, while streaming devices laptops, tablets and smartphones are poised to dominate their viewing preferences.

While the television continues to provide the best quality picture and viewing experience, the way content is being discovered and consumed is changing dramatically, especially for millennials. That's according to the preliminary results of the second NATPE|Content First and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) joint research study on consumers' attitudes toward television viewing.

"Our study confirms that the paradigm for TV content discovery has changed dramatically with increased availability and use of TV content streaming options," said NATPE president and CEO Rod Perth. "With more than seven in ten viewers in broadband households having streamed full-length TV programmes in the past six months, there are opportunities for networks and content producers to reach and build audiences."

Overall the joint study shows a decline in the amount of time spent watching live television programmes during their scheduled air-time. This is particularly true of the younger, millennial demographic which has some distinctive, common characteristics, including the regular use of multiple sources of programme content.

In fact, the millennial demographic group ( 13-34) is comfortable using many different sources of TV programme content and consequently are significantly more likely to consume full-length TV programmes from a streaming source (84% streamed in the past six months) than live TV programming at its original air time (54%), or recorded content from a DVR (33%).

"While the vast majority of consumers continue to watch television programming on their TV, many consumers, particularly millennials, increasingly are turning to a variety of devices to view their TV content," said CEA president and CEO Gary Shapiro. "This has profound implications for the way CE manufacturers market their products as they try to reach diverse markets."

Millennials also value their Netflix subscriptions more than broadcast or cable. In the study, 51% consider subscription to Netflix "very valuable," compared to 42% for broadcast channels, and 36% for cable subscriptions.

Gen Xers meanwhile love video-on-demand (VOD) and DVRs. Among those in this age group who have access to VOD, 76% use their VOD service once a week or more often, similar to SVOD usage. The study found DVRs are primarily used to avoid commercials, while VOD is for convenience.