Credit: Netflix

Nielsen Says Millennials Are Big-Time Streamers

Young generation less likely to change channels during commercials, but they aren’t paying attention to ads

Millennials are big streamers, according to a new report by Nielsen.

While 66% of millennials’ total time viewing is still done on a TV set, 23% is via streaming on a TV-connected device and 11% on a PC, smartphone or tablet. The millennials' 23% during the first quarter of 2016 is far higher than the 6% done by consumers 35 years and older.

According to Nielsen’s first "Millennials on Millennials" report, that means millennials spent about 27% less time watching traditional TV than older consumers.

Marketers are focused on millennials as they enter their early spending years, presumably with brand preferences still malleable. So Nielsen says as advertisers look for the best opportunities to reach this demographic, they need precise insight into their evolving viewing and consumption habits.

Surprisingly, Nielsen found during the fall of 2015, that millennials were least likely to change channels during commercial breaks while watching TV shows. Less than 2% of 18 to 34-year-olds changed channels during commercials, compared to 5.5% of those 35 to 43 years of age and more than 8% of viewers 55 and older.

But engagement with commercials and ad memorability scores were lowest among millennials because they’re busy multitasking with other devices, notably smart phones that they use to keep up with social media.

Nielsen adds that the low memorability doesn't stem from a dislike of advertisements. Millennials said they understand the necessity of ads in order for brands to inform the public of their products and services (79%), and many say that overall, ads don’t bother them (46%)—especially if the content they’re viewing is free (75%).