Young Viewers Watch Almost as Much Online Video as TV Shows and Movies

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A new study from Hub Research shows that young consumers, and especially those in the 12-24 year old age group, are watching a lot of online videos in addition to streaming shows on and movies on SVOD services. Gen Z viewers watch just as many hours of online video from platforms like YouTube as they do traditional TV shows and movies like Netflix. Of that age group, viewers who watch online videos at least weekly say they watch an estimated 11.4 hours of non-TV videos per week, and about 11.8 hours watching traditional TV content.

By comparison, Millennials ages 25-34 still watch more TV than online videos. Viewers of this age group report watching about 7 more hours of traditional TV shows and movies than time spent watching videos. TV viewing hours are three times as high than online video consumption for those 35 and older, meaning they watch online content the least.

So what’s the top online video platform? Unsurprisingly, YouTube reigns supreme across all age groups. YouTube was a pioneer in the world of internet video and has 2 billion active users worldwide. About 3 in 4 of those who watch any online video say they’ve watched from YouTube in the past week.

Social media platforms are the second on the list, with Instagram as the next top choice for consumers ages 13-24, followed by Snapchat and TikTok. While Facebook is absent from Gen Z’s top three choices, Facebook is the clear second choice for online video for users 35+ after YouTube—no other platform comes close.

While online videos do hold a big part of our viewing time, it meets a very different viewer need than traditional TV content. YouTube is seen as more of an educational platform that helps users learning new things. There are plenty of DIY channels and How-to videos to answer the internet’s burning questions. As for videos on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, respondents say it’s merely a way to kill time. They’re short, highly entertaining video clips that you can watch throughout the day when you have a minute to spare.

But when it comes to streaming services and regular format TV shows and movies, TV viewers in the study described their top reason for watching is to unwind and decompress. There’s nothing quite like bingeing a new series or rewatching your favorite TV show to help you relax after a long day.

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