Young People Now Spend More Time Online Than Watching Television Says Report

One of the most striking findings of the latest Childwise Annual Media Marketing Report is that for the first time, the amount of time that children spend playing and socialising online now exceeds the time that they spend watching the Television.

The results published in the latest report from Childwise, an independent market research agency specialising in children and young people, were based on the viewing behaviour of 2,000 five to 16-year-olds since the mid-1990s. According to the latest figures, the average time spent online (for 7 to 16 year olds) is now 3 hours per day, compared with 2.1 hours watching television.

Older Teenagers - Biggest Move Away From TV

15 to 16 year olds spend even longer online at 4.8 hours per day. Another interesting finding among this group is that they prefer to watch TV on their own terms. For example they tend to  not watch programmes at the time they are broadcast, preferring instead to use a catch-up or on-demand service, or YouTube.

Nearly one third 15 to 16 year olds do not have a favourite TV programme. When they do watch TV, the most popular channel for young people is Netflix.

Phones & Now Tablets Used For Accessing the Internet

Although mobile phones are the most common way for young people to access the Internet, the report shows that 67% of youngsters now own a tablet (most of these own an iPad), and this has meant that tablet computer use has overtaken laptops and desktops for these younger age groups.

Mainly YouTube

The report shows that almost half of 5 to 16-year-olds, and 74% of young people overall use the video sharing website ‘YouTube’ on a daily basis, whereas only 40% of them watch programmes through the BBC iPlayer. The Childwise report also shows that in addition to YouTube, young people spend of their online time using Snapchat, Instagram, Minecraft and Facebook.

Choosing Content and Binge Watching

The Childwise report shows that access to the internet at any time and place, the growing use of mobile devices and the blurring of TV content across multiple channels has facilitated a change in the behaviour of young people. They are now more likely to seek out their preferred content, and when they do watch TV programmes it is increasingly likely that they will do so online and on-demand or binge watching box sets.

What Does This Mean for Business?

Some of the implications of this changing behaviour for business could be that:

  • Younger target markets will be harder to reach at defined times using some of the traditional marketing communications channels e.g. via TV, radio or magazine / other press advertising. Advertising may need instead to be undertaken more in channels such as YouTube.

  • Businesses hoping to reach young people may have to place greater importance of social media in marketing in terms of communicating with, influencing, and selling to this market.

  • A multi channel / omni-channel approach may be needed when communicating with a young target market / market segment. This may require advice and help from social media marketing experts / agencies, and greater learning about the many new channels. Content intended for this market will have to be prepared in formats that are particularly friendly for mobile devices.

  • Greater attention will need to be paid to the mobile strategy of the business, and how mobile friendly the online channels of the business are e.g. the website and / or the online store.