67% of Gen Z Sees Value in Streaming, Gravitate Toward Original Programming
Cord-cutting has become a mainstay in American culture. Despite its more recent troubles, Netflix remains a cultural icon as Generation Z makes streaming its preferred method of media consumption according to a new study by Helixa. A good chunk of those subscribers are drawn to a particular service because of its unique, original programming, making this generation the first to fully embrace streamers.
Streaming’s Stable Base
The Helixa report looked at the viewing patterns of Gen Z audiences across various platforms. Viewers born beginning in the late 1990s are considered part of this generation, one that has grown up almost entirely during the internet era. The group is most likely drawn to streamers because of this familiarity and comfortability with technology. So it’s no real surprise that 67% of Gen Z feel that spending monthly fees on streaming subscriptions is a worthwhile expenditure.
Netflix co-founder and co-CEO Reed Hastings continues to prophesize linear TV's downfall, and Helixa’s data adds veracity to his claims. The initial drive behind cord-cutting was savings, as linear TV providers such as satellite and cable offered vast amounts of content at a substantial price, but most of it wasn’t worth watching. Streamers may have given their customers fewer options than cable, but the quality of their libraries more than made up for slight limitations. In addition, the convenience of streaming means that media is available on the viewer’s schedule, not the provider’s.
The Lure of Original Content
Helixa also examined the viewing patterns of Gen Z audiences, finding some good news for streamers who invest in original programming. The data suggest that 42% of that generation choose their services based on their unique offerings, expressly subscribing for specific, original content. Similar to cable channels of old in which customers could add HBO and Discovery to their monthly plans to gain access to “The Sopranos” and Shark Week, Gen Z cord-cutters turn to streamers with programming originals that can’t be found anywhere else.
Gen Z viewers were also varied in their favorite shows, with the top five watched series being “Pretty Little Liars,” “Rick and Morty,” “American Horror Story,” “Sportscenter” and “Stranger Things” from first to fifth respectively. The only streaming original in the top five is “Stranger Things,” unsurprising since it is the most popular show on the most watched service.
A Varied Audience
The study looked at five specific cultural segments to better understand which shows engage with Gen Z audiences the best. Out of these categories (fashion foodies, competitors, activists, dedicated gamers and entertainment fanatics), only “Rick and Morty” was watched across all demos, while “Pretty Little Liars” and “American Horror Story” landed in three of the collective group’s top-five programs lists. This suggests that while there is some variance between Gen Z viewers, cohesion still exists that streamers can take advantage of.
As streaming becomes ubiquitous, linear providers continue drawing water from a well that’s quickly drying up. The Gen Z full embrace to streaming means that more eyes are on the industry, though companies may want to focus on original productions to help stabilize a somewhat fickle subscriber base.