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Age of Technology: Generational Video Viewing Preferences Vary By Device and Activity
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Age of Technology: Generational Video Viewing Preferences Vary By Device and Activity

Globally, consumers largely favor TV as the device of choice for watching video programming. However, there are a few regional and generational differences in how we watch.

In Nielsen’s Global Digital Landscape Survey, respondents in Asia-Pacific, Africa/Middle East and Latin America prefer mobile phones for in-home video viewing more than those in Europe and North America. For example, among viewers who say they watch video programming when they’re home alone, 41% in Africa/Middle East, 40% in Asia-Pacific and 38% in Latin America say they do so on a mobile phone, compared with 24% in Europe and 22% in North America.

When it comes to the devices used to watch video programming during activities that take place outside the home, mobile phone use tends to be similar in Asia-Pacific, Africa/Middle East and Europe. Meanwhile, usage is above the global average in Latin America and below in North America. For example, among respondents who watch video programming on their commute to and from work, 59% of respondents in Africa/Middle East, 62% in Europe and 66% in Asia-Pacific watch on their mobile phone, compared with 80% in Latin America and 48% in North America.

By age, Generation Z and Millennial respondents are more likely than their older counterparts to report using one or more devices to watch video in all of the locations included in the survey. In-home use of mobile phones and computers is particularly high among the youngest consumers. Forty-two percent of Millennial and 38% of Generation Z respondents who watch video while sitting at home say they do so on their mobile phone, compared with 30% of Generation X, 18% of Baby Boomer and 6% of Silent Generation respondents. 

“Generation Z and Millennials, the digital natives, are voracious consumers of media, and mobile phones are at the center of their lives,” said Megan Clarken, executive vice president, Nielsen Global Watch Product Leadership. “For younger consumers, the mobile phone is no longer just for use on the go, but everywhere—even their living rooms. Content providers and advertisers need to be flexible with their approaches in order to reach consumers where they are, on the device they are using and during the activities in which they participate.”

Outside the home, a mobile phone is the device of choice for nearly all generations. Sixty-six percent of Generation X and Baby Boomer respondents who watch video on their commute home from work do so on a mobile device, while 65% of Millennial, 64% of Generation Z and 56% of Silent Generation respondents do so, too. Similarly, among respondents who watch video while shopping, 74% of Baby Boomer, 70% of Silent Generation, 66% of Generation X and Millennial and 65% of Generation Z respondents say they watch on a mobile phone.

The report also discusses:

  • How content is consumed in rapidly shrinking media boundaries.
  • The influence of social media on how and when we watch.
  • Strategies for second-screen success.

For more detail and insight, download Nielsen’s Global Digital Landscape Report.

About the Nielsen Global Survey

The findings in this survey are based on respondents with online access across 60 countries. While an online survey methodology allows for tremendous scale and global reach, it provides a perspective only on the habits of existing Internet users, not total populations. In developing markets where online penetration has not reached majority potential, audiences may be younger and more affluent than the general population of that country. Additionally, survey responses are based on claimed behavior, rather than actual metered data.