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What audiences of all ages like about “non-premium” video

Premium video streamers can benefit from understanding what customers find appealing about "non-premium" video sources like TikTok and YouTube.

February 5, 2024 | By Rande Price, Research VP – DCN

Viewership habits are changing in the video entertainment and news landscape, presenting challenges and opportunities for today’s media content companies. Hub Entertainment’s annual Video Redefined study delves into this growing alternative video content consumption ecosystem. The research explores the rise of YouTube influencers, TikTok, podcasts, and the impact of gaming on the streaming video industry. Hub’s study finds a significant change in consumer preference towards “non-premium” online content sources like YouTube and TikTok. Hub attributes this shift to increased smartphone usage and expanding content on these social platforms.

Aware of these shifts, some media companies, like Paramount, Disney, Max, and others, are experimenting with releasing exclusive content on social platforms. Paramount released Mean Girls on TikTok in 23 parts, and Disney created a content hub dedicated to their company’s 100th anniversary.

Broader appeal of non-premium content

TikTok emerges as a significant player in short, quick, and trend-centric content, appealing to all age groups and excelling in providing vast amounts of video content. The study reveals that while TikTok is now on par with Instagram in popularity among young viewers, YouTube remains the unrivaled leader.

Gen Z’s affinity for non-premium videos, such as short-form, user-generated, and influencer content, is evident, with nearly two hours daily of consumption. The study highlights a surprising increase in non-premium video consumption among older viewers (35+), with a two-hour-per-week rise compared to the previous year. Hub Entertainment notes that their interest in staying updated on news and current events is primarily attributed to the surge.

Smartphone video viewing

While social media is popular across all ages, viewership is not uniform. Over 80% of all viewers use YouTube weekly. However, Gen Z stands out for its higher usage of Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat. The study emphasizes the importance of recognizing the unique benefits offered by each platform. TikTok, for instance, excels in delivering short, trendy videos, while YouTube’s extensive library remains the go-to source for informative content.

As noted earlier, the study underscores the dominance of smartphones as a viewing source, particularly among younger audiences (13-24). Younger viewers spend half as much time on traditional TV as their older counterparts. Their smartphones are the go-to platform for gaming, social media, and non-premium video content. Companies like Netflix are aligning their strategies with this trend, developing games based on popular shows like Squid Game and Wednesday, further blurring the lines between traditional TV and gaming. Gaming IP, too, is gaining traction, with promises of more TV show game adaptations like Fallout on Prime Video.

Media content companies face challenges as younger viewers move away from traditional television and cinema experiences. The dominance of smartphones, the rise of non-premium content, and the changing preferences of different age groups underscore the need for the industry to adapt and explore opportunities presented by these shifts. As media companies chart the future of the video ecosystem, they must embrace innovative strategies to stay relevant and engage with evolving audiences.

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