Television Research and the 12-18s: the FutureTV Viewers Speak

By Matt Walters – @matthew_walters –

Head and shouldersIt has become a recurring theme among observers of the TV industry that young people have rejected broadcast television and “don’t watch TV any more”.  The huge take up of alternative video formats and new devices is continually interpreted as evidence of this rejection. Recent analysis of viewing patterns and quantitative research from Ofcom and Thinkbox has shown that linear still plays a significant role in the viewing mix for young adults. These reports also show that over half of viewing amongst 12 – 18 year olds is now non-linear VoD and OTT.  While the new data has reset our understanding of “what” is happening, what we haven’t known until now is “why”; what is motivating this shift, and will it remain in the future?

As part of the Connected Broadcasting programme – exploring changing consumer demands and the new, evolving technological landscape – Arqiva, working with Decipher, conceived the Millennials Research Project as a way to find these answers. The project took an in-depth, qualitative approach to research the behaviour, thinking and decision-making behind the numbers.

LTo deliver it, we partnered with twenty young TV viewers, between the ages of 12 and 18, and we asked them to record every interaction with video content over the course of one month, from early August 2015.  We created a unique, online media diary that they could engage with through their mobile devices, recording facts, thoughts and insights with text and video. Respondents were asked to record the different types of TV and video content they watched, the devices they watched it on, and how long they spent watching.  They were also asked to keep a record of who they watched with, and where in the home they watched this content. Most importantly, we asked them why they made the choices they made and what they thought about them.


Among other things, the study found:

  • The big screen in the living room is still the dominant device for Millennials, even despite them rarely having control in this environment;
  • Millennials are as engaged with content, formats, personalities and stories as ever.  Their definition of what constitutes “TV” is extremely broad;
  • Young people are showing a growing loyalty to programme brands, which they want to consume whenever, wherever and on whichever device;
  • Millennials’ willingness to move between devices and services is unprecedented, as is their openness to experimenting with new video formats and services;
  • Millennials’ TV and video viewing continues to be an important part of their social interaction with friends and family.

The full Millennials White Paper can be downloaded here.

For further information, please contact Matthew Neale (Arqiva) at or Matt Walters (Decipher) at

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