It would be a mistake to assume that older Americans can’t be reached on connected devices. Though their traditional TV consumption remains strong, video usage on connected devices is close to younger age groups.
Boomer TV viewing remains stable
Among the 50 to 64-year-olds, television consumption remains remarkably stable. Live TV plus timeshifted DVR viewing has remained about the same over the last three years, at around 5.5 hours per day. Those younger than them have all reduced the amount of traditional TV they watch. For example, 18 to 24-year-olds cut traditional TV viewing by 7% between Q3 2015 and Q3 2016.
I want my connected TV
Boomers are also catching up to the young in the adoption of connected devices. The connected television has seen explosive growth over the last three years. In Q3 2016, the average adult aged 50 to 64 watched 1 hour and 20 minutes of video on a connected TV per week. That’s an increase of 63% over the previous year.
Penetration of connected TVs also grew strongly. In Q3 2015, 17% of boomers were watching Internet video on television. That grew to 25% in Q3 2016. Usage by owners of smart TVs, streaming media players, and connected DVD players is also remarkably like other age groups. Boomer connected TV users also watch for around 47 minutes a day. 18 to 24-year-olds watch for a little over an hour a day.
Love the one you’re with
Many boomers are repurposing their PC as video device. 69% still own a PC connected to the Internet, and 49% watch video on it. These penetration numbers are slightly lower than last year, reflecting perhaps the growing usage of tablets among older Americans. The average boomer watches 1 hour and 44 minutes of video on their PC every week. An increase of 44% over the previous year.
Boomer PC video viewers increased usage 50% between Q3 2015 and Q3 2016. They now watch, on average, about 30 minutes a day on the device. In the same quarter in 2015, they watched 20 minutes.
Smartphones have screens too!
Just like every other segment of the population, boomers have embraced the smartphone. And three quarters of them watch at least some video on them. Usage is still relatively small, but is growing very strongly. The average 50 to 64-year-old watched just under 30 minutes of smartphone video a week in Q3 2016. This is up 163% from the same quarter in 2015.
Boomer usage of smartphones for video is well behind younger age groups. For example, the average adult aged 25-34-years old watches twice as much as a boomer on their phone. However, boomers are catching up fast.
Why it matters
In younger age groups, online video viewing is displacing television viewing.
Among boomers, connected video viewing is in addition to traditional television consumption.
This does not mean older people are not watching as much online video as their younger peers.
Device usage for video among boomers is remarkably similar to younger age groups.