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Streaming Lands Huge Demographic Win, Says Gartner

Steve Anderson

Adults aged 18 to 43 are prized by advertisers as a key market with huge spending potential and cultural influence. Marketers are enamored by the demographic and generally pay a premium for access to their favorite content and services. Where is that age range these days? According to a new study from Gartner, the answer is “watching streaming video.”

The study from Gartner notes that the 18 to 43-year-old segment typically spends about 63% of their time watching television on streaming video, a marked majority. Other choices in the study such as broadcast television, satellite, and traditional cable fought for minority shares of attention.

Gartner also offered some insight into which streaming services 18 to 43-year-olds are turning to. Ad-free streaming services like Netflix and Disney+ proved to be leaders in the field. Four out of the top six were ad-free services. However, ad-supported platforms like Hulu and YouTube made up a substantial portion of the overall list. The study found that 10 of the top 16 services were ad-supported.

Viewers are also quite willing to split their streaming time among several platforms. According to the Gartner study, 80% of viewers were turning to at least one streaming platform, and 64% were watching at least one service that featured advertising. This dovetails well with earlier studies, especially Peacock’s unusually high churn and a study that found the average home has nine separate streaming services it turns to.

While the most frequently-cited services aren’t ad-supported, the majority of the overall list is. We also know that people are willing to migrate from service to service, a sort of digital nomad lifestyle that allows viewers to follow the growth of new content and then move to other services once they’ve watched what brought them to a service.

In this case, the greater conclusion we can take from the Gartner study—and the broader numbers of studies that agree with it—is that streaming is more popular than ever. Winning big with the 18 to 43-year-old market means that advertisers will be forced to work within the digital adoption that has become the rule, not the exception, of the modern world.

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