Millenials and paid content

Updated: Feb 19

It's long been a topic of discussion... Do the elusive teen to mid-thirty-year-olds pay for content? And if they do, is it likely they'll continue to do so?

At Word on the Curb, we've had to rethink how we produce content. When I say creatives, that's who I mean: content makers. The videographers, illustrators, editors, social media managers, writers and designers of this world... Everyone who keeps us scrolling, engaging, and spending way too much time on our phones.

So, what is the future of content? We thought we'd take a look at the current landscape, and run a few insights on our Instagram. Our goal? To find out whether our community pay for their streaming services, and figure our why. Here is what we found...

As it turns out, the answer is, yes, they do pay for content.

Netflix came out on top, although it doesn't necessarily follow that 87% of our young people are paying the subscription fee. A regular account allows up to five different profiles, so its popularity is hardly surprising. Netflix is, in fact, the number one streaming service worldwide. A 2019 MoffetNathonson survey found that 41% of Netflix users aren’t paying for their own account, but with 167 million global subscribers, we won't be cracking out the small violin just yet.

Aaaand, in comes the Beebs with second place. Interesting to see the BBC iPlayer performing so well - they've really upped their game when it comes to their content offering for younger audiences. Shows like Ru Paul's Drag Race UK, Noughts and Crosses (ft Stormzy!), and their new take on Phillip Pullan's Northern Lights appear to be working, with a healthy 53% of our young people admitting they tune in.

Then we have three pretty close competitors - or are they? We were surprised to see Amazon trailing so far behind Netflix. It may look like it's appeal is similar to that of ITV or Channel 4, but let's not forget this media giant boasts an enormous 150 million paying subscribers. It's price is much the same as Netflix's, but there's less of a focus on shared accounts. Amazon and Relax - anyone? No?

ITV Hub is where you'd go to catch up on Corrie, Britain's Got Talent, Love Island, and many other hit series. So what's the hang up? We're going to say, too many adverts, and an annoying inability to download shows. You'd need to subscribe to ITV Hub+ for £3.99 a month in order to watch ad-free, as well as being able to download shows to watch later on your devices. But had any of us even heard of this option? The offering could be clearer.

Ok, well when it comes to Channel 4, we all know you just have to grin and bear the adverts. If you use an ad block, try to mute the ad, or even switch to a different page in your browser, it'll know, and it'll pause the ad until you forcibly watch it. Unlessss - you guessed it... Channel 4+! Another thing we didn't know was a thing; pay £3.99 and get the same deal as you would with ITV.

Now TV, Disney+ and Apple+ are all new competitors scrambling in the wake of Netflix's success. NowTV, also known as Sky Ticket in Germany and Austria, is a streaming service provided by, you guessed it, Sky. It first launched in 2012 and gives users the option of paying extra for access to third party content, such as Hulu, which is otherwise unavailable in the UK. Bit annoying they don't throw it all in for the pricier than average £7.99 subscription fee.

Disney+ makes a lot of sense. They've got more than enough content, from animations to superhero movies, and plenty of capital to keep the pipeline going. However, the platform has already encountered it's fair share of issues following its launch in late 2019, with thousands of people unable to access it on the day.

Still, watch this space - we reckon that, with Disney a firm childhood favourite, this will be a must for parents, perhaps even more so than Netflix kids. And who is the next generation of parents?

Which leaves us with Apple TV. Following the closure of iTunes, this platform is slightly different to all the other ones we've looked at. Described on Wikipedia as a "digital media player and microconsole", Apple TV has more of an all round entertainment appeal, allowing you to engage with content such as music, podcasts, video, video games and more.

It launched in 2007, and it seems it will require a lot more time and investment before it become the indespensable iTunes of the future - which it might. Another one to watch.

Clearly, the landscape is constantly changing. Many of us aren't clear on what each service offers, whilst others would rather stream something online illegally than bother with the adverts on some of the +s. Which brings us to our little incognito icon! No, it's not a streaming service - we threw in a cheeky question at the end of the insight session: "How many of you still stream illegally?" And now you know!

SO, we haven't really answered the question of whether or not young people will prove loyal, and continue to fork out for their preferred services... And we are curious to find out what drives so many people to stream illegally (other than personal finane), BUT that will take a whole lot of new insight, so make sure to pay our blog another visit next week!

Until then,

The WOTC Team

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