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GroupM: GenY and GenZ 'watching less linear TV as they age'

13 Nov 2017  |  David Pidgeon 
GroupM: GenY and GenZ 'watching less linear TV as they age'

It has long been argued that as we grow older, settle down and have kids we start to watch higher levels of traditional, linear television, but a new report out this week suggests this is no longer the case.

"In startling opposition to history, GenY and GenZ are actually watching less as they age," says Rob Norman, global chief digital officer at GroupM, and Adam Smith, futures director.

Generations defined

Baby boomers: 1946 - 1965
GenX: 1966 - 1976
GenY/Millennials: 1977 - 1994
GenZ: 1995 - 2012

In a wide-ranging report, The State of Video, the authors note that despite the fact video viewing across all formats and devices has grown, traditional TV viewing for UK Millennials/GenY has fallen about 4.5% annually since 2012, and nearer 9% for GenZ.

"We calculate that middle-aging GenY and GenX will erode viewing equivalent to about one percentage point a year over the next decade," the authors say, adding that TV-viewing for both age groups is falling in absolute terms and even more against expected life stage.

Putting these predictions together with forecast UK demographics, GroupM calculates that the "negative drag" to 2030 from cohort-aging is 0.8%.

"Even conservatively, as GenY ages, it will pull 35-54 viewing down by over 1% a year in the UK. We emphasise this is for scheduled linear viewing, not video on any screen. It still challenges the fundamental economics of advertiser supported television, based as it is on schedules promoted to and consumed by largely predictable and large audiences."

GroupM warned that this raises the risk of audience shortage and CPT price inflation, which tests advertiser perceptions of value.

Although GroupM's predictions are explicitly about scheduled linear viewing, Thinkbox's Matt Hill says as people have embraced new ways to watch TV, their viewing has split across different times, places and devices and getting a proper picture of TV’s reach has become harder.

Writing for Mediatel earlier this month he said: "Industry standard measurement has not been able to keep pace with the changes in TV viewing.

"For example, among 16-34s there’s an extra 13% of TV viewing that is not included as part of the industry standard measurement, these being the most enthusiastic adopters of the new ways we have to watch TV."

To that end, Hill argues that marketers need to plan across both TV and broadcaster VOD to make the most of the medium's true reach.

It is also worth noting that 16 - 34 year olds in the UK still watch an average of 2 hours 5 minutes of TV a day, according to Thinkbox.

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22 May 2020 

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