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How Millennials Preference For OTT Could Determine The Future Of TV

You have probably heard that millennials have a preference for OTT when it comes to viewing video content. You may know that they quote providers such as YouTube and Netflix as being their preferred option, as opposed to traditional TV. What will probably surprise you is that this behaviour amongst millennials is not just restricted to the years when they are at home or in college. Recent research by L.E.K. Consulting shows that millennials carry this behaviour with them as they progress through life.

The research involved studying millennials during various life stages and examining their viewing preferences. The results make disturbing viewing for those involved in the traditional TV industry.

boyWhat the study involved

The L.E.K. Consulting study was involved with looking at the viewing preferences of millennials across six key life stages; at home, students, flat sharing, own place, young families under 25 and young families between 25 and 34. Although it is no secret that young millennials watch more of their video content via an OTT service than older generations, it was not previously known that they took these preferences with them as they moved through life. The L.E.K. Consulting research has shown this to be the case. The findings show that young millennials watch only 10 hours of linear TV per week as opposed to older adults who watch 20. As millennials grow older, and start families, the figure only changes to 12 hours per week. The figure is still noticeably lower than for non-millennial adults.

What does this mean for traditional TV?

The L.E.K. Consulting findings show that millennials are taking their viewing habits with them through life. This means that they will also pass the habits on to their children, as well as influencing other non-millennials in the community. When you consider that 46% of millennials watch YouTube videos each day compared with just 12% of other adults, you can see that the whole area of viewing habits is likely to keep shifting in favour of OTT.


Producers of traditional TV may have thought that the millennial preference for OTT was to do with their youth and that they would adopt more traditional viewing habits as they aged. While this presented a minor threat to their ongoing revenue, the fact that millennials look set to continue viewing OTT content throughout their lives, presents an even bigger threat. The research findings from L.E.K. consulting are certainly an eye opener and a sign of potentially disturbing times ahead for traditional TV with the continued growth of OTT looming large.

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