Media & Entertainment

Do Millennials give a S&%# about TV?

Image Credit: Pixabay

Got your attention??  First – a confession.  I am an old TV guy.  I grew up in the pre-cable 70s and 80s when we only had three UHF stations.  Keep “UHF” in mind, as I’ll get back to that later.  I admit that I was a TV junkie – I loved to watch all the cartoons on Saturday morning and absolutely lived for Monday Night Football in the fall.  I have also worked for local television stations (directly and as a vendor) for most of my 30-year career.

Today, I have three “Millennial” children – ages 25, 22 and 19.  When we discuss television they look incredulously at me when I talk about the past.  They have NO concept of what “UHF” means.  Even worse, when my wife and I watch local news (and they happen to be walking by) they ask “why is it called Channel 2 (4 or 11 or even FOX 53)?  Isn’t it on channel 6 or in HD on 802?”  My answer is usually a stumbling, “uh – yeah but… ah just get back to your Snapchat news”.

My, how things are changing!  Nowhere is that more apparent than the influence TV advertising has had on our society.  Back in the day – “housewives” would buy the detergent (soap) that spent the most money advertising on the “Soap Operas” on TV.  Not anymore!

Over the past six months, CivicScience has been asking people what most influences their decisions on what they buy, where they eat, and the movies and TV shows they watch.  Let’s take a look at some top-line results.  Over 33,000 responses were collected from September 25, 2015 to March 23, 2016.  That’s a LOT.

Millennials TV - topline

On the surface, 44% of folks are saying ads on TV influence them the most – that’s not too bad.  But how do the different generations answer this question?  I cross-tabbed this question with “broad age groups” and learned that only 24% of Millennials are most influenced by TV ads – compared with 60% of Baby Boomers. That’s quite a gap.

Millennials TV - age

More alarming to me is the trend line below.  I wanted to see how this question has been trending over the years – just for Millennials.

Millennials TV - trend

While Millennials have always been more influenced by social media, the gap is widening.  If this trend line continues, as Millennials get older, it poses greater challenges to the TV industry.  So, what to do?  My suggestion – keep your finger on the pulse of these younger generations (Millennials/Gen Y and Gen Z).  How?  We have a LOT more ways to dissect these results.  Let us know if you’d like to see any of the deeper analysis we’ve done.

Oh yeah, UHF means Ultra High Frequency which used to be broadcast on over the air channels 14-83.  I’m sure there are plenty of engineering geeks out there that can tell you more.  But really, who gives a S&%#!

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