Young people watch more TV over online services, says Thinkbox research

Thinkbox's research compared the 16-24 age group with all individuals
Thinkbox's research compared the 16-24 age group with all individuals

TV accounts for 65 per cent of young people's total viewing, compared with the UK average of 81 per cent, according to research by Thinkbox.

The body said that 30 per cent 16- to 24-year-olds watch videos on tablets and smartphones, double that of the average individual in the UK at 15 per cent.

The ‘Truth about Youth’ study compared young people viewing live TV, playback and video-on-demand services to online services including YouTube, DVDs and subscription video-on-demand services such as Netflix.

The research said that 16- to-24-year-olds use smartphones and tablets more because they are competing with parents, siblings or friends in shared accommodation for the main TV screen.

In terms of advertising, Thinkbox said the demographic has a "broadly similar" view as the wider population.

The report said: "They like advertising they find funny and entertaining, and they claim to avoid advertising across all forms of media, yet are able to talk easily about their favourite ads, almost all of which are audio-visual.

"However there are some aspects of advertising that are disproportionately important to this age group. They are more likely to favour advertising featuring personalities they relate to. And they are more rebellious and do not like being told what to do – the hard sell is much less welcome."

The study added that the age group has a desire to learn too such as how to play the guitar or apply make-up and this is "served well" with short-form videos.

But Thinkbox also said that TV plays an "important" role at a more aspirational level and cited the example of Channel 4’s One Born Every Minute series driving applications for midwifery courses.

Matt Hill, the research and planning director at Thinkbox, said: "There has been an immense amount of speculation about how younger audiences are watching TV and newer forms of video.

"This research shows that newer forms of video have important roles to play in young people’s lives and that TV remains by far their favourite medium. Different video fulfils different needs and they co-exist happily."

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