Forrester Research Survey: Only 46% of Millennials Watch Linear TV Monthly

By Adam Flomenbaum 

Forester Research last week published the findings of a new survey – ‘Making Sense Of New Video Consumption Behavior‘ – which showed that only 46% of US online millennials, Gen Xers, and Younger Boomers watch linear TV monthly.

The greatest difference in the video consumption habits of Gen Xers and Younger Boomers (35 to 58) versus millennials (18 to 34) is when it comes to watching live TV broadcasts. 52% of Gen Xers and Younger Boomers view live TV in a typical month, while only 40% of millennials do the same. On the flip side, 40% of millennials stream video from a paid online video service in a typical month, while only 30% of Gen Xers and Younger Boomers do.

As for how – and how much – viewers are consuming content, 55% of millennials watch four or more hours of TV on a TV, and 34% of millennials watch four or more hours of TV online; compare this to Gen Xers and Younger Boomers, where 73% watch four or more hours of TV on a TV, and only 12% watch four or more hours of TV online.


Still, the main nugget of the report that the media (us included) are latching on to is that only 46% of millennials are watching linear TV monthly. Jim Nail, the author of the report, recognized this, and addressed it in a follow-up blog post:

The press coverage of my report “Making Sense of New Video Consumption Behaviors” — and especially the number they highlighted that 46% of the “core” TV audience watches linear TV in a typical month — raised a lot of questions (and skepticism!) on the Research Wonks list serve. I figure if they had those questions, others might, too, so here is the response I posted there:

“The media always looks for the headline-grabbing, shocking, number and the 46% watch linear certainly qualifies. I used this number in passing to set up the report so before I address the methodology questions, let me share the core conclusion of the report: consumer video consumption behaviors are different enough across generations that planners need to break out of past planning routines and account for these different behaviors. Toward the end of the report I say: A goal of 100 gross rating points (GRPs) against an 18-to-49 audience is merely an average across this entire audience; if the placements are skewed to linear TV, it will likely deliver too many ads to the 35-to-49 segment and not deliver enough to the 18-to-34 group. The 46% number doesn’t comment on the number of hours and the data we capture is very broad here, but even it shows that linear is still the larger number of hours.