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Revolt Study Shows Millennials Still Prefer Watching Long-Form Content on TVs

But also highlights growing importance of streaming devices

Revolt chairman Sean Combs attends its upfront presentation in New York on April 24, 2014. Jason Lewis Photo

A new study from Revolt, the network founded by Sean Combs, shows that 15- to 29-year-olds still enjoy watching long-form content on their televisions, but that doesn't mean they only want linear TV shows.

Revolt's Code of Content study surveyed 4,000 millennials about their TV and online consumption habits. The study revealed that 62 percent liked watching TV shows, movies and long-form video on their television sets, and 60 percent still saw themselves having a TV in five years. The runner-up was laptop viewing at just 21 percent.

That doesn't mean youth are watching live TV. Only 43 percent said they believed they would have a cable subscription on a TV in five years, and 42 percent said they would have a cable TV subscription that would allow them to watch content on any device. By contrast, 61 percent believed they would have an on-demand video subscription like Netflix or Hulu. In addition, the majority of respondents said that if they did have a cable subscription available through an app, they would use it to watch on-demand content rather than stream live channels.

Many survey takers admitted to using other devices while watching TV. One in three Snapchatted something from a show, and the same number said they were likely to post something on Facebook about a program they're watching. One in four headed to Instagram or Twitter to further discuss what they viewed.   

Jake Katz, Revolt's vp of audience insights and strategy, said that the data showed the importance of online platforms when it comes to message distribution. 

"If we can understand those transformations, brands can add value," Katz said.

Revolt touted its grasp of the youth market at its omnifront—a term Combs used instead of upfront presentation—on April 24 in New York. Launched in October 2013, the network is now available in 46 of the top 50 U.S. markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, Miami, Boston, Atlanta and Washington, D.C.

Through a mix of music and culture-based content—including upcoming shows featuring Snoop Dogg's GGN YouTube series and another featuring rapper Wiz Khalifa—Revolt highlighted just how well it understands the online landscape and how it can impart that knowledge to brands. Instead of focusing on specific series, it unveiled potential advertising opportunities—its partnership with Xbox One to stream Revolt on 10 million consoles; working with Capture, which lets media companies use user-generated content on social media for real-time coverage; and virtual reality experiences with VR company Jaunt, giving fans more access to music events. 

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