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Digital media trends: the blended realities of younger generations

June 6, 2023

Almost half of Gen Zs and Millennials in the United States spend more time socializing with others in social media than in the physical world, and 40% admit to socializing more in video games than in the physical world.

This is one of the main findings of Deloitte’s Digital Media Trends, 17th edition, which provides insight into how people in the US, ages 14 and older, are interacting with media and entertainment offerings—including streaming video, gaming, streaming music, user-generated content, social media, and emerging technologies.

“TV shows and movies have their own immersive qualities and communities, but they increasingly live beside—and even within—social media and gaming. Video games and UGC can deliver a blend of experiences and a diversity of content, from competition and collaboration and grand adventures to music and shopping and seemingly endless personalized content that can whirl up into viral moments. This variety can increase engagement and utility, and the ability to interact and share with others builds greater connections and stickiness.”, the report says.

According to the study, people are finding different kinds of value in different entertainment options. The value of streaming video, for instance, may be under pressure:

  • 50% of Gen Z and Millennial consumers in the U.S. (ages 14-40) agree with the statement: “online experiences are meaningful replacements for in-person experiences.” Only 19% of Gen Xers, Boomers and older (ages 41 and up) feel the same.
  • 48% of Gen Z and Millennial consumers say they “spend more time interacting with others on social media than in the physical world.” Only 20% of older consumers say the same.
  • Watching TV shows or movies remains the most enjoyable activity for the majority of the 41-year-old-plus crowd (55%), but not for younger consumers. Only 30% say they enjoy TV shows and movies most, compared to video games (19%), user-generated content (19%), and music (16%).
  • Younger consumers say they feel “most connected” to a community of people when playing video games (19%) and watching user-generated content (27%), while much smaller numbers of older consumers (5% and 11%) say the same.
  • While 88% of consumers have paid for a video subscription, half of those (44%) have also cancelled one in the last six months. And cancellation is much more common among Gen Zers (57%) and Millennials (62%) than Gen Xers (43%) and Boomers (24%).

Given that, we can say digital media has been growing more interconnected—and interdependent. And at the heart of it is the user experience: how audiences engage with different digital media, how they move across them, and how those experiences deliver value.

“For more people, the digital and physical are likely becoming equally real and meaningful. More of their emotional, social, and informational needs are being served by the digital milieu. And more of them seem to be weighing the relative benefits against their costs.”, the authors highlight.

Source: Deloitte Insights