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Millennials Define Future of Media

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Millennials also report watching original series made for the web (like Hulu Originals) at almost three times the rate of viewers 35+

Millennials also report watching original series made for the web (like Hulu Originals) at almost three times the rate of viewers 35+

NEW YORK, April 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Millennials are defining the future of media. With media more fragmented than ever, understanding how to reach this key audience is critical. At last week’s 15th Annual Cultural Insights Forum in New York, over 300 media industry executives gathered to hear speakers from ESPN, ABC Family, Hulu, ARRIS, Cisco, DISH/Sling TV, and more discuss the latest insights, research, and strategies for creating and distributing content to engage Millennials.

Adriana Waterston, Horowitz’s SVP, Insights & Strategy, shared the research firm’s newest data showing that overall pay TV and over-the-top (OTT) services, like Netflix or Hulu Plus, currently co-exist, rather than directly compete. The picture changes dramatically among Millennials.

According to Horowitz’s New TV Universe segmentation, traditional viewers, who watch the majority of their content through multichannel (live, DVR, VOD), comprise 66% of the viewing universe.

Among Millennials, traditional viewers make up only 35% of the universe; the remaining 65% fall into leading-edge segments that rely heavily on OTT.  View chart

Despite their shift away from traditional TV, Millennials are more into TV content than their 35+ counterparts. New methods of viewing, like bingeing and catch-up viewing, allow Millennials to carefully curate their content—and the content that is proving popular shares a common thread.

Pointing to the success of shows like Jane the Virgin, Empire, and Black-ish, Waterston says, “Millennials are most certainly shaping the future in their quest for diversity and authenticity in content.” 28% of Millennials report regularly watching content from premium networks, more than twice the rate of those 35+. Millennials also report watching original series made for the web (like Hulu Originals) at almost three times the rate of viewers 35+ (31% vs. 11%, respectively).

Waterston adds, “Both the numbers and the narratives presented at the Forum tell us today’s viewers are looking for authentic content that reflects their realities and their lives.”

The theme of authenticity pervaded the day. During a panel on engaging multicultural, multiplatform Millennials, Hulu’s Rodrigo Mazon said of Hulu Original East Los High, “The beauty is that when you achieve that kind of authenticity, the audience can perceive it […] At that point, it doesn’t matter if it’s a multicultural show, a white show, or an all Latino show, as long as it feels authentic, the audience buys in.”

Beyond content, speakers also stressed the importance of social in driving their brand among Millennials.Bradley Bredeweg, Executive Producer and Co-Creator of ABC Family’s The Fosters, noted that “part of the job has become going online and engaging with your audience […] that’s just what you sign up for now, and if you don’t, you lose your Millennial audience.”

For more, follow #culturalinsights15 on Twitter or visit https://storify.com/LizOD/identity-matters

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