There are a lot of assumptions around Millennials and the media.
It’s commonly thought that Millennials never get off their phones, or that they only ever watch on-demand TV, or that they aren’t interested in current affairs and news. But how many of these are actually true? And, more importantly, what do these clichés miss?
We asked 1,000 people, including 200 Millennials, about their media habits to find out. For the purposes of this study, when we use the word ‘Millennial’, we refer to those aged 22-33.
To start with, we asked: in the last week, how many hours did you spend watching TV each day?
Interestingly, Millennials report watching less traditional TV than the rest of the population.
30% of survey respondents said they watched 3-4 hours a day, whereas Millennials were 1.5% lower; they were 1.8% lower on the 1-2 hour category, too. Also, they were 1% more likely to reply ‘I do not watch TV’.
While these figures aren’t meant to replace official statistics released by the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board, they are indicative that Millennials perceive themselves to consume less TV than others generations.
However they were far more likely to stream TV through Netflix and other providers. 7.5% of the population reported watching more than 6 hours of streamed TV each day, compared to 12% of Millennials; similarly, 7% of the general population reported viewing 5-6 hours of streamed TV, versus 9% of Millennials.
The differences grow as we begin to look at the genres people watch. We asked our panel who had watched a certain genre more than once in the last week, regardless of whether it was streamed or not, and the results highlight some noteworthy patterns.
30% of the population watched Reality TV; 41% of Millennials reported watching it.
Millennials also felt like they watched less Sports, Drama, and, notably, News - 38% of the general population reported watching the news, dropping to 30% amongst Millennials. Their responses indicate that they are generally more interested in soaps and comedy.
We also asked: Which of the following social media channels do you use while watching TV?
There are two big favourites that stand out for Millennials. 33% of the population said they use Instagram in this scenario, while 48% of Millennials do. And 39% report that they use Snapchat while watching TV, compared to a national average of 27%
Outside of using social media as a ‘second screen’ while watching TV, it seems that Facebook may be falling a little out of favour with this coveted demographic. 51% of Millennials claim to use Facebook most, versus 56% of the UK in general.
YouTube was voted as their second most heavily used social network.
Speaking of heavy use, 38.5% of the general population said they check social media feeds more than four times a day, whereas 47% of Millennials reported checking it this frequently.
Taking a quick look at radio, there are some notable differences in Millennial’s self-reported media consumption. 42% of Millennials say they listen to Kiss, compared to only 25% of the rest of the population; Capital FM, too, is popular amongst Millennials, with 46% reporting that they listened to it, compared to only 33% of the general population.
Finally, our data shows that Millennials may be more difficult to reach via traditional online advertising, with 55% claiming to have ad blockers installed on their PC/laptop (versus 49% for the general population). This rises to a huge 71% for men aged 22-35.
While stereotypes about Millennial media habits are exaggerated, the self-reported data here suggests there are elements of truth to them.
Millennial’s report watching less live TV, more streaming programmes; they use social media more heavily - particularly Instagram and Snapchat ; and they don’t like ads to interrupt their digital browsing experience.
All this shows that as a brand, you must continue to be creative when it comes to grabbing the attention of Millennials; you can’t simply rely on large-budget TV commercials, nor digital-only banners.