How is Gen Z consuming content?

Gen Z, also known as Zoomers, are potentially the most talked about generation, often the subject of analysis and speculation regarding their future, given their complete immersion in digital and hand-held technology. This generation encompasses those born between the late 1990s and early 2010s, currently between 8 and 24 years old. As digital natives, the kings and queens of TikTok taking AI developments in their stride, Gen Z is likely to lead a new era in content consumption. Unlike previous generations, Gen Z's engagement with media is changing the way content is created, accessed, and personalized. Gone are the days of families gathering around a single television set. Now, individual devices and personalized schedules have taken over a collective home life, with an emphasis on video streaming and social media, often consumed simultaneously on different screens. 

In this article, we explore how Gen Z’s habits differ compared to those of Millenials, Gen X, and Boomers, how they are shaping the trends of content consumption and what it means for the future of media creation.

Gen Z’s content consumption habits

As far as entertainment goes, Gen Z is profoundly engaged with technology and digital media, tending to prefer streaming services, including video, music, and gaming, over traditional television channels or radio broadcasts. They also prefer interactive content and connectivity across different devices, often multitasking and switching screens or even apps, to consume multiple sources of media at once. One exception to this trend could be sports events, which tend to bring large, multi-generational audiences together for one televised event. 

With regards to informational content, such as news broadcasts, Gen Z is much more inclined to engage with short-form videos, reflecting their tendency to have a shorter attention span and preference to take in information in the most efficient way possible. They may use social media platforms, such as Instagram, to read the latest updates on certain news stories. Millennial and Gen X generations, on the other hand, are more accustomed to watching televised news broadcasts and listening to the radio for live content. These significant differences in content consumption also affect the type of news each collective is interested in engaging with. Younger generations, for example, tend to be more interested in lifestyle and entertainment news than traditional topics like politics and economics. 

Content engagement advertising trends

According to 2023 data from ThinkBox, the standard length of a television advertisement is 30 seconds long. However, as consumption trends change from one generation to the next, advertisers may have to change their strategy as capturing the attention of Gen Z, who are increasingly streaming video content, is becoming more challenging. According to Emarketer, it takes just 1.3 seconds for Gen Z to lose interest in ads, making it crucial for branded content to be immediately engaging. Traditional advertising methods often fall short among this discerning audience. 

As such, big-name brands are implementing new strategies in order to boost engagement, curiously with longer-form content. YouTube highlights several examples of highly successful advertising campaigns from 2023, including various initiatives by Pepsi, which was more prolific than other brands in their use of formats, lengths, and style. From one of the most watched ads of the year, with 250 million views for their exuberant musical anthem in India, to a multi-market “No Lay’s, No Game” ad featuring well-known athletes from Europe, Africa, and Asia, Pepsi brought its brand to life by appealing specifically to younger audiences’ preferences. These shifting trends in consumption and engagement can offer content creators and providers insight into what makes compelling ad content that resonates with Gen Z and maximizes revenue for streaming platforms.

The future of media and content consumption

Gen Z currently makes up 23% of the global population and, as such, is set to exert significant influence over how we consume online content. Their distinct behaviors and key values, including empowerment, self-expression, belonging, rationality, and retreat, could provide insights for content providers and creators in order to build future-proof strategies and keep audiences engaged. Research suggests that this generation seeks meaningful connections within communities sharing common interests, often turning to platforms such as WhatsApp and Telegram over traditional social media. As such, this generational trend could see a rise in interactive content providers.

As streaming service costs rise, Gen Z also increasingly values ad-supported models to offset the expense of subscriptions. It seems that as advertisements become more engaging, these younger viewers are not as bothered by ad breaks as perhaps their older family members, used to long breaks in the middle of television shows. Gen Z is likely to discover new brands through pre-video ads tailored to their personal likes and preferences thanks to AI-based algorithms, which also presents a valuable opportunity for advertisers and streaming platforms to increase revenue. 

For more information about trends in live streaming and content consumption and to find out more about our content delivery solutions, visit system73.com.