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New Tubi Streaming Report Reveals Gen Z & Millennial Preferences for SVOD & FAST

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Tubi, Fox Corporation’s ad-supported streaming service, released findings from The Stream 2024: Streaming Insights for Marketers. In this year’s report, Tubi, who partnered with The Harris Poll to conduct research, provided a deep dive into the behaviors and preferences of today’s streamers to help inform marketing strategies.

Streaming Media’s Tyler Nesler spoke with Tubi’s Cynthia Clevenger, Senior Vice President of B2B Marketing, about many of the report’s key findings and what they reveal about the current state of the SVOD and FAST streaming market for younger users, along with insights for advertisers and the Media and Entertainment industry as a whole.

Tyler Nesler: The report found that Americans spend an average of $120 (€110) every month on streaming services and TV packages – more than what they spend on gas ($112), and over half (53%) of Gen Z and millennials believe they’re overspending on streaming, with 71% canceling due to tiered memberships that force them to pay more to access certain content. What strategies might the industry adopt to help reduce this high churn and create a more consistently satisfying experience for users?

Cynthia Clevenger: As a free, ad-supported streaming platform (FAST), we aren’t as concerned with churn as other SVODs who have to focus on retaining subscribers. We understand that consumers may cycle through their SVODs due to climbing costs and content considerations — picking and choosing what to keep based on current popular titles — but Tubi is uniquely positioned as all of our content, including exclusive Originals, aren’t hidden behind a paywall. 

Tyler Nesler: One interesting takeaway from the report is that 58% of viewers would rather have a free account to themselves than a paid subscription they have to share. Was any insight gleaned into why viewers dislike sharing subscriptions? Is it a matter of personalization preferences, and is this related at all to the password-sharing crackdowns?

Cynthia Clevenger: It’s not surprising given the recent crackdown on password sharing and the increase in consumers looking for convenient and affordable ways to access their favorite content in a personalized viewing environment. Individual accounts can offer greater flexibility and control, as they do not require coordination or compromise among multiple shared users.

Tyler Nesler: The report found that Gen Z and millennials want original, diverse content from independent creators. Might FAST platforms benefit the most from diverse or niche programming because there may be less risk involved than for larger and subscription-based platforms?

Cynthia Clevenger: Our report found that Gen Z and millennials want original, diverse content from independent creators — but personalization is also hugely important in gaining viewer loyalty. Because they’re completely free and can be accessed across a number of devices — from smartphones to televisions — FAST platforms offer easy access to a wide range of movies and TV shows catering to diverse interests. At Tubi, we’re focused on personalizing content recommendations for every user and surfacing titles we know they’ll love — no matter how niche.  

The combination of personalization and diverse, niche programming has proved to be a winning formula at Tubi. Our deep library of over 250,000 movies and TV episodes across all kinds of fandoms has attracted a young and diverse audience — we’ve seen over 50% growth in the 18-34 demographic and among African American, Asian, Hispanic and Multicultural audiences. We also have nearly 300 FAST channels through 455 content partners, with many developed to focus on niche interests, including British Mysteries, MrBeast, and drag race, as well as over 100 local news stations across 60 DMAs.

Tyler Nesler: One finding that surprised me is that younger viewers (96%) strongly prefer “nostalgia watching” of older shows, and 67% of Gen Z and millennials turn to content that’s 10+ years old because “the style and quality is good.” What might this mean for new show creators in terms of matching the style and quality of older programming? Has the pressure to create a large amount of new content adversely impacted the quality of new shows?

Cynthia Clevenger: While our report shows that viewers are tuning into nostalgic content, it also found that Gen Z and millennial viewers want more original content over remakes and franchises — so, creators need to draw inspiration from the past while creating something that feels new and original in order to reach younger audiences. Streaming platforms ultimately need to strike a balance between housing a strong catalog of library content while being thoughtful about investing in originals that showcase a unique perspective.

At Tubi, we take pride in our data-driven approach to producing original content, as we create titles that we know will deeply resonate with our viewers based on what they’re already enjoying on our platform. By leveraging consumer insights and trends, we are able to better develop meaningful content that we know our viewers will love. 

Tyler Nesler: The report found that many viewers also think of streaming as “self-care,” with 68% streaming TV or movies as an opportunity to carve out alone time. Were there any insights found into the types of programming that those who stream privately (such as more soothing reality TV like baking and home/garden shows, etc.) work best for solo streamers (versus the types of programming that people prefer to watch in a group (such as sports or complex dramas)?

Cynthia Clevenger: As individuals take control of their downtime, we’ve found “revenge bedtime” — or sacrificing sleep for more episodes of their latest binge — is a large form of solo watching. Tubi’s internal data found that on the whole, people on Tubi are turning to comfort viewing and comedies in the late-night hours, but a subset of viewers are also seeking out the spooky and paranormal — from alien docs, to true crime, to thrillers — and many of these titles are significantly more popular in the midnight hours than during the day.

In speaking with one millennial streamer, he let us know that he “likes to watch movies and reality shows with [his] wife and [he] likes to watch sporting events with a group of friends. [His] brother lives in Chicago and [he] lives in Tampa so sometimes [they] watch the same sporting event and send each other pictures, GIFs, and memes during the game.”

All images and infographics courtesy of Tubi

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