Gen Z wants original content and loves second-screening: study

A new study by Vice Media and Ontario Creates proves that when it comes to media, Gen Z is very different from Millennials.
Photo credit: The Gender Spectrum Collection.

Photo credit: The Gender Spectrum Collection.

It is by now, fairly common knowledge that Gen Z is poised to dramatically change the way the world works and technology and media consumption are not immune to the societal shift.

Gen Z: The Culture of Content Consumption, a study from Vice Media and Ontario Creates digs into the details of this generation’s media appetite – based on a survey of 650 people in Ontario between the ages of 14 and 39 – which differ even from Millennial generation preceding it.

Gen Z is fluid with a penchant for individuality; one in two say they believe pop culture and media impact their sense of gender and sexuality more so than the culture they grew up with.

“There is a strong desire for original cultural content,” the study notes. “Gen Z wants to explore and engage with a wide variety of different voices and viewpoints.”

In fact, 75% of them say original content is important, whether produced by individuals or by companies. The same number say the industry has yet to catch up to its audience in terms of diverse representation.

For Gen Zs cultural content is favoured when entertainment is prioritized, whereas Millennials prioritize knowledge. Music ranks high for both cohorts; more than 54% of Gen Z listens to music “frequently” compared to 43% of Millennials. According to the study, Gen Z has a shorter attention span for new music but seven in 10 will search for more information when they discover a tune they’re into.

Gen Z’s favourite topics are humour, memes, internet culture and gaming (29% of Gen Z compared to 15% of Millennials), but Millennials prefer food and drinks, technology, health and wellness and more likely to catch TV (89% of Millennials, 75% of Gen Z) or films (75% of Millennials, 63% of Gen Z) on a weekly basis.

“Young people are always looking for ways to use technology to enhance their content consumption experience,” the study reads. A second digital device is a regular for six in 10 Gen Zs who use it for social media, chatting or playing games. Millennials tend to use a second device to seek out more info on content they’re consuming or to shop online.

Some 78% of Gen Zs use social media to discover new content along with recommendations from friends and family, music streaming services or the website of media publishers. To share content, 66% of Gen Zs do so in person, 61% send a text and 58% use social media.

YouTube is the go-to source for 88% of both Gen Zs and Millennials and a smilar number use Instagram (80% compared to 77%) however Facebook has dropped off for the younger cohort (61% compared to 80%) and Snapchat is more popular (56% compared to 20%). On Twitter, Gen Z holds roughly 47% and Millennials 38% and TikTok is still growing among both (21% compared to 7%).

Jay Devonish, director of A&R marketing, music at Entertainment One, who lent commentary to the study’s findings said, social media will continue to be where people discover content. “A lot of these records have blown up on TikTok. So that’s how people are actually discovering it.”