Millennials are ditching their television sets, shifting to mobile to watch TV shows

“A new report suggests bigger isn’t better, when it comes to watching television programming,” Bryan M. Wolfe reports for AppAdvice. “Deloitte found that Millennials rather watch movies and television shows on computers, smartphones, and tablets. These details were recently published in the firm’s annual Digital Democracy Survey.”

“Those between the ages of 14 and 24 only watch TV shows on an actual television set 44 percent of the time,” Wolfe reports. “Thirty-two percent of the time, TV shows are consumed on a desktop or laptop. Smartphones and tablets make up another 16 percent, while gaming devices are used 8 percent.”

Wolfe reports, “This is the first time computers, smartphones, and tablets have eclipsed televisions for any segment of the population, according to Gerald Belson, vice chairman of the firm’s U.S. media and entertainment practice, who spoke to Re/code.”

Read more in the full article here.

“‘It’s an indicator of how the market is reacting to the introduction of technologies,’ Belson said. ‘Clearly, a large segment of the population is quite comfortable using any number of devices to watch content. The speed with which it’s happening takes some people by surprise,'” Dawn Chmielewski reports for Re/code. “This shift has profound implications for networks, and Nielsen, which are working to find ways to measure TV viewing across multiple screens. Nielsen announced plans to begin incorporating mobile into its traditional ratings with the 2014-15 season.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. Apple knows, and it’s one of the key reasons we’ll see bigger screens with the iPhone 6/iPhone Plus. The smartphone is a strategic place where the battle for consumption will be fought.

      1. a lot homes in america don’t have televisions and it’s not by choice, they just can’t afford it.

        When they tell people we don’t watch television, it isn’t because they’re trying to make fashion statements, or they’re part of some kind of counterculture.

      2. Why did you think 2001 was a significant time in your life to get rid of the television anyway?

        You are, of course, speaking only for yourself. Unless of course I missed the mass exodus of gen x’ers dumping television.

        There sure as hell wasn’t anything on the Mac platform compelling enough to make me or anyone I know dump their televisions.

        In fact, about the time you were born, the VCR was just hitting the market and television was becoming even more popular.


        1. I am speaking for myself and some in ‘ some” not a mass exodus at all. It was propagated by a breakup and just deciding…cable…meh. And no, there wasn’t much until about 2005-ish. Laptop was my TV. YouTube helped. Not until Hulu (07) started was it easy to watch and follow a show.
          Agreed on cost of cable these days. ridiculous.

          You do realize there is a twenty year gap defining Generation X ?

          Much like the one between your ears.

  2. at that age you are always out spending all your money so watching a movie is something you do on the go between hanging out

    wait a few years and it will change

  3. I can only imagine these people are watching these shows at work. Otherwise why would any person fore go a 32 -40 or larger LCD TV to swatch shows on 4″ -10″ device that you have to hold in your hand a few inches from your face.

    I bet this writer wishes all would abandon TV for smart phones and tabs.

    1. I’ll watch movies/shows on the big TV with my wife, but in bed when I can’t sleep I’ll watch TV shows on my iPhone with the sound low enough not to wake her. It usually knocks me right out even when I’m trying to stay awake.

      (pro tip: don’t play any kind of game on your i-device if you’re trying to fall asleep or you can zombie out forever)

    2. I’m 46, so I don’t fit this demographic, but my wife and I have both switched to watching most of our TV and movie content on laptops, iPads, and (in my case) iPhone. To me, small and close viewing (at high resolution) provides a richer and more personal experience than big and distant. With headphones, the sound rivals home theater. My 40″ LCD screen gets a bit lonely, especially because it can see me sitting there on my couch, thoroughly enjoying something on my phone, while my wife watches something else on her iPad. You’d think such behavior would impede togetherness, but we find ourselves constantly pausing the video to share things with each other and discuss. It’s a different world from the dim living room of yesteryear, with the family’s faces all glued to the flicker of the tube.

  4. The article says, in essence, there is an important but very PARTIAL shift.

    It’s not saying TV is doomed, like the first comment above. That sounds similar to the old “the movie theaters are doomed” punditry. That hasn’t happened. Change, yes. Mass watching on iPads instead of 50″ screens, no.

    1. I almost agree with you, but…

      That percentage of viewing TV on mobile devices IS “mass”. I think it was clear from botvinnik’s comment that many doomed things arrive at that final demise on their own schedules, but are doomed nonetheless. Windows is still out there on a great majority of operating machines, and Microsoft will continue to lumber on for some time, but its ERA is dead, just like that of print media. Books won’t disappear overnight, but unless a global economic collapse brings down the tech world, they, and newspapers and magazines, will slowly fade. People still ride horses, but that doesn’t mean the saddle isn’t dead to the world of transportation.

  5. I wouldn’t say that, but internet connected television is all I ever watch minus a show I recorded on the DVR or a live sporting event. Television as we know it is over. That’s why the Comcast, Time Warner net neutrality issue is so important. We found a better solution that opened up unlimited possibilities to any start-up but big money wants to shut it down with a toll road that limits the access only to the big money players again. We end up right back where we started.

  6. The writer misses the point. People are still watching content, they’re just watching it in other places. If you have the choice to watch a show in your living room on your TV or iPad or iPhone, you’re going to choose the TV. The difference comes in when people are watching shows in other locations — on a subway, in a car, at a friend’s house, outside, etc. And that tends to be younger people who do more hanging out together or on their own because they haven’t started families yet.

    The other factor is that most on demand content is available free or very inexpensively online, whereas trying to get it on your TV usually involves buying it from a cable company/satellite provider. So people go for the free content option of shows they missed, or a YouTube broadcast, etc.

  7. I can see the future being cable-cutting and all streaming, but no TV sets/monitor displays? I doubt it. These millennials who don’t have TV sets probably live alone for the most part. (And also probably can’t afford a decent set.) I can’t see this remaining the case when they get married and start a family. I mean, not watching TV at all is one thing, but can you imagine a family of TV watchers who never watch a show together? That’s just silly.


  8. This is a natural technological evolution. The more people have a variety of devices capable of viewing whatever it is they like and a network in place to support said devices, the more they are going do that. The less they are chained to an undesirable paradigm and the more legitimate alternatives present themselves, the more the paradigm will shift. It isn’t rocket science.

    Sorry, but I have to say: Seriously. Who gives a ****? When did we decide that we are going to shape our society based on the whims of one generation of kids that were still in high school a few years ago? News flash: they will age the same as their parents and their parents before them. They alone are not responsible for driving every innovation and every aspect of the economy. Our country has gotten so very *desperate*. 😛 rant

  9. If true, it just reinforces the notion families r becoming more and more disconnected thx to electronics. Anyone who thinks and electronic device makes them happier has already been lost likely never to return! Don’t believe me? Have someone hide your gadgets for 3 days and see if u survive. It’s an addiction of epidemic proportions! I know mothers who give their kids iPads and iPod Touches at age two! America is lost.

    1. Amen! We don’t want to pay the “high” cable/Satellite bill, but think nothing about paying a $300.00 per month AT&T bill for a family of 5. What would the AT&T bill be if we didn’t have a hi-speed internet connection at $70.00 to stream all our T.V. programs on the home network to all our iPads, iPhones & Apple TV’s.

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