Days of the family gathering in the living room and watching The Simpsons or Friends (let alone The Wonderful World of Disney) are long gone, replaced by multi-screened, on-demand viewing. This is not news, but it has created consumer behaviors that are changing the way marketers will reach their target audiences. Five key trends drive this change:

  1. Binge watching. 73% of Americans have binge-watched video content (watching three or more episodes in one sitting). That increases to 90% for viewers aged 14 to 33, with 40% of them reporting they binge watch weekly. These younger binge watchers indulge in an average of six episodes, or five hours of content, in one sitting.
  2. On-Demand. About 49% of Americans subscribe to paid streaming video services, freeing them from the television schedule. Among 14- to 50-year-olds, that increases to 60%.
  3. Divided attention. While consumers have more control – and more variety – in their video consumption, fewer consumers pay undivided attention to the content they are watching. 99% of Gen Z and Millennials report multitasking while they watch. On average, they report four simultaneous additional activities, including text messaging, social media, and web browsing.
  4. Pervasive social media. Use of social media is increasing, with more than 80% of Americans reporting they use social networks for getting news as well as for learning about other video streaming content.
  5. Mobile ad dissatisfaction. Currently, 70% of consumers say that mobile ads are not relevant or useful, creating dissatisfaction. As a result, 45% of Millennials say they use ad-blocking software to avoid these messages.*

The traditional model of pay television is obviously no longer working, and the entertainment industry will need to adjust its business model accordingly. For marketers trying to break through and communicate with today’s consumers, here are the take aways:

  • Assume multitasking, part I. If marketers found it difficult to break through the clutter when consumers watched one screen, they have an even greater challenge in today’s multi-screen media environment. Getting – and keeping – your consumer’s attention is and will be increasingly difficult.
  • Assume multitasking, part II. More online marketing research surveys are being completed in the evening, while the respondent is watching videos, using a smartphone or tablet. Like brand marketers, marketing researchers must fight for the respondent’s attention. Never assume that your survey is the only focus of their taxed attention span! Keep it simple, and of course, mobile optimized.
  • Activate social media. The plethora of video streaming options makes it less likely the consumer will passively find your content. Using social media to promote shows is critical to creating and growing audiences. Additionally, integrating video content into social media creates a more seamless experience for today’s consumer.
  • Customize and personalize ads. Marketers must target their key consumers through mobile advertising more accurately. Delivering relevant, compelling, and customized messages to them at the right time will improve consumer satisfaction with mobile advertising and increase effectiveness by driving behavior.

And last, but certainly not least…

  • Stay tuned. The only thing we can count on with media consumption patterns is change. As David Gudelunas, Director of the School of Communication, Arts and Media at Fairfield University, said, “One thing that is certain is that change is inevitable in all these technological areas. There is a continual adaptation in how we get our entertainment.” And that will drive a continual adaptation on the part of marketing message delivery as well.


*Source: Deloitte’s Digital Democracy Survey, 11th edition