Millennials Prefer Online Content, Smaller Screens

In the latest news which should come as no surprise to readers of this blog, research from Verizon, Forrester, and Ooyala confirm that, within the generation of Millennials, traditional television is on the way out while online streaming has replaced that loss outright.

Let's first take a look at the research from Verizon as summed up in a recent blog post at InPlayer. The Verizon researchers, in their study "Millennials and Entertainment, Final Report, March 2014," found that Millennials are prone to binge-watching and that they want access to their favorite programs at a moment's notice. Those favorite programs come courtesy of video programming distributors and set-top boxes -- á la Roku or Chromecast, Hulu or Netflix. And don't forget up-and-comers like Zype.

To be more specific, the details of the Verizon study are such that its researchers surveyed 800 Millennials of ages 16-34 and 200 non-Millennials of ages 35-64 and stated, "On Demand is being replaced by Real Time. Millennials want to access all the content they desire without speed and quality being affected."

That used to be a lot to ask for, but the 44 percent of Millennials who want current shows and episodes, 41 percent who "value a high quality viewing experience" with minimal interruptions, and 37 percent who want fewer steps between content selection and content viewing are getting what they want. Online services make it possible for the seemingly impossible of 10 years ago to become mainstream and overtake television which once was king of the living room. It is king no more.

InPlayer digs even further. It cites Forrester when it claims that only 46 percent of Millennials watch linear television with some regularity. The bulk of video viewers flock to the online arena, and surprisingly enough, they are using their small screens to get there. Ooyala says Millennials are now more likely to view their high-quality favorite shows, with no pauses, on their laptops or mobile devices. Even when they may catch a show on television, they are probably also accessing similar content on their phones, tablets, or laptops at the same time. The percentage of video plays on mobile -- versus all other platforms -- has risen almost consistently from quarter to quarter since August 2011 through at least the second quarter of 2014. There appears to be no separating this generation from the small screens they grew up with and have come to love.

What this means for businesses is that their content must be optimized for mobile more than any other device. In the present day, however, there are still many non-Millennials who want to get their content the old fashioned way -- they are three times more likely to not have watched content online, reports Verizon -- so content providers must optimize their video channels to meet the demands of all sizes of screens. Even with that burden of responsibility, though, services such as Zype control the future of streaming by bringing content together into a nice, neat package for viewers of many ages to absorb.