Watching digital – downloaded or streaming – video is now a more popular weekly activity for people under the ages of 45 than watching traditional TV, according to MarketingCharts’ 4th Annual US Media Audience Demographics report. The report indicates that digital video surpassed traditional TV among 35-44-year-olds for the first time last year.
The findings are supported by a recent PwC study that found a surge in popularity for streaming video services among Gen Xers.
Older adults remain firmly in traditional TV’s corner, however. Among those ages 65 and older, for example, 93% use a TV set at least once a week to watch live, recorded, on-demand or pay-per-view TV (traditional TV), almost double the share (49%) who watch downloaded or streaming video.
There are some keen differences in video preferences when examining races and ethnicities, too. Non-Hispanic Black adults are considerably more likely to watch traditional TV (85%) than digital video (69%) on a weekly basis, as are non-Hispanic Whites (87% and 73%, respectively). But Hispanic adults are just as likely to watch digital video as traditional TV.
These trends align with separate analyses from MarketingCharts’ The State of Traditional TV Viewing report.
In that study, covering 25 quarters’ worth of viewing data, older adults demonstrate a far greater preference for traditional TV than their younger counterparts.
For example, adults ages 65 and older watched almost three times more traditional TV on a weekly basis in Q1 2017 than did those ages 18-24 (51:42 and 14:31, respectively). And over a 5-year period of analysis, the 65+ group actually increased its weekly viewing time by 7.7%, whereas those ages 18-24 cut their time by a dramatic 41.3%.
Similar gaps emerged between Black Americans (2+) and Hispanics (2+). The former watches almost twice as much traditional TV on a weekly basis as the latter (43:23 and 23:23, respectively, in Q1 2017). And Hispanic’s traditional TV viewing time declined at a 3 times greater rate than that of Black Americans (-19.1% and -6.3%, respectively) over the 5-year period of analysis.
In tandem, these findings paint a clear picture of digital video’s ascendance among youth and Hispanic adults, while traditional TV holds its place among America’s older generations and Black adults.