The Now Generation: Millennials and Online Video

The Now Generation: Millennials and Online Video



Dianna Bai

In October 2013, The New York Times dropped a bombshell that would forever change how advertisers and the general public see television.


One out of every three Millennials do not watch television, the highly cited research study reported.

Instead, they opt for online video.

People ages 18 to 34 are turning to video hosting sites such as YouTube, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, websites of television channels and news sites to get their video content.  In fact, they are spending more time than ever watching streaming videos online.

What are they watching? Funny clips, movies, music videos, news content, how-to videos, TV shows, live streaming, sports, weather and entertainment videos.  A quick look at YouTube’s Trends Dashboard reveals that Millennials are going online in droves to watch Beyonce’s new music video, sports clips and other entertaining videos such as Babysitter Bloodbath, a survival-based horror video game.

Their reasons for loving online video

They want to be entertained. They have some time to kill. And they want instant access to interesting content. But why sit in front of the computer to get all these and not just turn on the TV?

Millennials are watching more streaming videos because it is who they are.  It fits their personality as much as the iPhone they can’t live without.

The “Me Me Me” generation may as well be called the “Now Now Now” generation. According to the Baltimore Sun, Millennials are always looking for instant gratification.  No more driving to the video store and waiting for somebody to return a movie they want to watch.  If it’s something they can’t stream online, they don’t want it.  Millennials are impatient: even downloading a movie might take too much time for them. A YouTube video is often less than five minutes long. Anything more than that presents a commitment that few Millennials want to make.  What’s more, videos need to make an impact in a minute or less.  If a streaming video fails to make them laugh or keep them entertained, then they move on to the next video. If they have to download or wait for the video without knowing if it’s any good, then Millennials will most likely pass.

The impact of infrastructure and social media

Millennials are impatient because they have the infrastructure for it.  There are a vast number of online services that offer instant streaming.  Why wait for the scheduled television lineup when they can find it all online and watch it while they’re waiting for the bus?  They do not even have to wait until they are at home to watch videos when smartphones and tablets are right on hand.

However, their level of connectedness does not end there.  With social media, Millennials are often in touch with friends 24/7.  With online videos, not only do they get the instant gratification of watching the content they want instantly, they can also easily share it with their friends.

And because Millennials are indeed The “Me” Generation, they have become video producers themselves.  They take photos of their food and record a video of themselves skating, drinking or whatever it is that they feel the world should see them do, which – let’s face it – is pretty much everything.

So to sum it up? There is a colorful and dynamic world of video online to entertain Millennials.. And the fact that these videos are there for them to watch without waiting is just an added attraction.

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