Insights; Entertainment Content Industry
Teens today are known as digital natives, and have never known a world without the internet and instant connectivity. Almost half claim to be online constantly, while teens across the board are online at some point at least every day. The vast majority of 12-17-year-olds favor YouTube as their entertainment platform, and consume a wide variety of content, from educational videos, to hydraulic press, to make-up, to cat videos. Most use their telephones to access content, while almost as many also use their computers, often simultaneously.
Teens' Entertainment Expectations
- Teens expect not to be bored by the social media they consume, thus the wide array of content on YouTube keeps most of them happy.
- They expect their likes to be catered to. As one teen stated: "As long as the algorithm caters to what I like, I'll be on YouTube."
- Deborah Nichols, an associate professor of human development and family studies at Purdue University, said the huge increase in YouTube as teens' preferred platform shows the "shift away from globalized interest to much more specialized or individualized interest."
- Teenagers also like to see something that is fun and "satisfying," thus the popularity in hydraulic press and shred videos.
- According to a study performed by marketing agency Fona, today's teenagers are adventurous, open-minded, have strong opinions, have learned from their parents' healthy eating habits, and are interested in creating new tastes in the kitchen. The Fona study found that 46% of teenagers regularly watch cooking shows as a form of entertainment and education.
- Interactive media is popular, including movies, gaming, and sports. In fact, 34% of U.S. teens are in a fantasy football league.
- There are some differences in how girls and boys enjoy media consumption, most notably in gaming. Seventy percent of boys surveyed said they enjoy playing video games "a lot," while only 23% of girls did.
- Girls, however, spend more time on social media per day than boys, and their favorite activity is listening to music.
- Although there is ample choice to create original online content, very few teens (3%) spend time creating their own content.
- Many teens' entertainment philosophy is that "TV is primarily made by old people for old people," and is therefore not relevant to their lives.
- As stated by one Texas teenager, "...YouTubers are the equivalent of mainstream celebrities."
- Teenagers want to know they are not alone in their angst, insecurities, and general trying-to-make-it-through-life, thus vloggers posting on YouTube about their own anxieties is comforting to other teenagers, and wildly popular.
Most Popular Entertainment Platforms
- Teens' across-the-board use of YouTube stood out in nearly all sources consulted. More than 52% of teens surveyed by marketing company Fuse, preferred YouTube over other streaming services, with more than 72% of teens reporting they visited YouTube daily.
- Telephones are teenagers' overwhelmingly preferred mode of technology, as 95% report they have access to a cell phone
- Behind mobile phones in popularity were gaming (27%), social media (20%), VR/AR (3%), and wearable tech (2%).
- Teens prefer to use multiple social platforms, on multiple devices (telephone, television, iPads), often simultaneously.
- Teens 12-17 years old have been moving away from Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter, partially in response to their parents' increased use of those social media platforms, and switching to Instagram due to its social connectivity and easy-to-use design.
- According to the Pew Research Center, in an earlier study on teen social media use (2014-2015), 71% of teens said they used Facebook most heavily. As of 2018, that percentage had dropped to 51%, while YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat use had increased.
- Forty-five percent of teens say their internet usage is now almost constant, which is double the number (24%) of teens who reported constant internet use in the 2014-2015 Pew Research study.
- Teens in rural Texas were found to be like teens everywhere: they prefer YouTube over other forms of digital entertainment.
The preliminary research on this project was used as a jumping-off point to determine what teenagers want in their entertainment. Further reliable sources were found to provide and collaborate background information (New York Times, McKinsey, Wall Street Journal), although not every source was specifically cited. In regard to researching the differences between rural, suburban and urban teens' consumption of entertainment, only one source was found (Wall Street Journal) that made any sort of mention of this, essentially stating that rural teens consume the same type of content, and in the same way, as urban teens. We suggest that this particular portion of the request might need to be researched separately, as sources were not readily found.