Millennials watched less television than ever in 2016, and 18% more on connected devices. What is likely to happen in 2017? An acceleration of the trends.
Total connected device usage to increase
Looking at Nielsen Comparable Metrics for the last three years, it’s clear connected device video usage will grow higher in 2017. For the average adult between 18-34, usage increased 25% between Q2 2014 and 2015, and another 18% Q2 2015 to 2016. The average millennial (see note below) watched 613 minutes a week (1 hour 28 minutes a day) of video on their connected devices. With the fast growth of SVOD and other online video services, that is liable to increase another 15-20% in 2017. That would see the average 18-34-year-old watching around 1 hour and 45 minutes a day on connected devices.
18-34s to watch 20+ minutes less TV a day in 2017
Just over three quarters watched some traditional TV in an average week in Q2 of 2014, 2015, and 2016. Though the reach of television remained relatively flat, the amount of watching did not. It fell 20% between 2014 and 2015, and another 7% in the last year. That said, the average 18-34 TV viewer still watched for 1,107 minutes per week (2 hours and 38 minutes a day) in Q2 2016. With connected viewing eating up an increasing amount of viewing time, traditional TV watching is sure to continue to fall. A 15% drop under the current circumstances wouldn’t be a shock, and that would drive daily viewing down a further 24 minutes, to 2-and-a-quarter hours per day.
Best devices to reach 18-34s in 2017
Next year will see the arrival of Star Trek: Discovery exclusively to CBS All Access. The show’s sweeping space vistas, action sequences, and high contrast picture will likely have people running for their connected televisions to watch. The show will also carry universal appeal, including in the 18-34s. This, and other online-only original releases, should give connected TV reach a big boost next year, to somewhere close to 60%.
The smartphone will remain the connected device with the most video reach, at 65%. The tablet will also do well in the age group, reaching 27% of 18-34s. This is doubly impressive as tablet sales have slowed dramatically from their highs 3 years ago. Annual iPad shipments exceeded 70 million in 2013, but fell under 50 million in the 2015.
The PC will continue to decline in usage for video viewing in 2017. It will likely fall to last among the 18-34s, reaching just 22%.
However, if it is engagement you are looking for, the television remains king. In Q2 2016, the average 18-34-year-old watched 401 minutes of video a week on the connected TV (users of the device watched 678 minutes.) This more than 3 times more than on the PC, 10 times more than the smartphone, and almost 20 times more than the tablet. With all of the great long-form, online, premium content releases expected next year, the connected TV will maintain its dominance in terms of minutes watched.
Why it matters
Over the last 2 years 18-34-year-olds have cut TV watching by 25%, and increased connected device viewing by nearly 50%.
This trend is liable to accelerate in 2017, as marquee premium video that would have normally appeared on TV moves exclusively online.
Note: I use millennial to mean 18-34-year-olds in this analysis. However, millennials are defined as being in the age range 18-34 in 2015. That said, the bulk of 18-34-year-olds in 2016 are still defined as millennials.