More millennial viewers are enjoying television and they are
more accepting of advertising. According to a new study by the Magid
Generational Strategies unit of Frank N. Magid Associates, in fall 2012, TV was
the type of content preferred by millennials, topping movies and music. When
the same study was taken in 2009, TV ranked behind movies and music.
According to Sharalyn Hartwell, executive director of Magid
Generational Strategies, TV is gaining in part because of quality choices. But
the big factor is the availability of content. "There's so much more choice and
ways for them to access the content," Hartwell says.
Hartwell notes that five or six years ago, networks weren't
sure if they should put full episodes online. "Now that that's become more of
an industry standard, whether it is offering it on [the Web] or through the VOD
services, what that's really done is create more fans of TV overall,
particularly among this age group," she says.
Hartwell says millennials are also more likely than other
generations to engage in binge viewing. "A common thing we heard was they kept
describing it like watching a movie," she says.
Millennial viewers have not really embraced procedural
dramas, and binge viewing works better with serialized programs.
"In a procedural, you know that at about 22 minutes in,
you're going to see this, at about 10 minutes to go, you're going to know that
it's going to get all wrapped up. So when you watch multiple procedurals in a
row, that doesn't feel like a movie because a movie doesn't tie itself up and
start all over in the middle," Hartwell notes.
And as millennials engage more strongly with TV content,
advertising messages in TV commercials should get a better hearing.
In 2009, 37% of 18-to-34-year-olds said they would
"definitely accept/view ads" in exchange for the ability to consume full-length
TV content for free. In 2012, that number jumped to 45%.
"This generation, they're savvy consumers, they're savvy
about marketing," Hartwell says. "They grew up with Nick and Disney. They know
they're an attractive segment, and they get the trade-off. They understand that
watching some ads is the price of entry, and they're willing to do that."