Younger Viewers Watching TV Out of Home: Nielsen Report

While networks fret that they’ve been abandoned by younger viewers, Nielsen said they’re watching linear TV content, but they’re not sitting in the living room while they're watching.

It’s true that younger viewers are among the most active video streamers, but the relatively affluent members of the millennial generation and Generation Z are also watching linear TV content in out-of-home locations, according to a new Nielsen report.

With Nielsen measuring out of home viewing more thoroughly, and more ad buyers accepting out-of-home viewing among the impressions they pay for, the finding could mean extra dollars for TV networks.

Related: Nielsen Offers Quicker Data on Out-of-Home Viewing

ESPN was one of the first networks to subscribe to Nielsen’s Out-of-Home reporting service and use those extra viewers in negotiations with advertisers. Adding viewing in bars, health clubs, offices and mass transit lifts ESPN’s viewership by 8.5%, the network said.

Turner, ABC and CBS have also signed up for Nielsen’s Out-of-Home service.

Related: ESPN Touts Effectiveness of Commercials Seen Out of Home

In its new report, Nielsen looked at all out-of-home viewing during 2017. It found that 39% of all out-of home-viewing came from Gen Z and millennials, or 14% more than their national in-home viewing.

News viewing is usually thought to be largely confined to older viewers, but when looking at Out-of-Home consumption, the share represented by millennials and Gen Zers nearly tripled. Gen X’s share was also higher out-of-home (23%) than in-home (18%).

Nearly half of the out-of-home viewing for sports came from Gen Z and millennials.

Looking at all TV networks, out-of-home viewing was 6% higher among millennials and 7% higher with Generation Z at home. Broadcast networks saw a 13% lift among member of Gen Z and a 10% lift among millennials. Entertainment networks saw a 5% lift with Gen Z and a 4% lift with millennials.

“For decades, media owners and buyers knew that OOH audiences existed, but haven’t ever been able to quantify and transact on these coveted consumers,” Nielsen said in its report. "Over the past year, new OOH insights into these on-the-move consumers has fueled a broader conversation about the opportunities that OOH audiences present for both buyers and sellers.

“Whether it’s reaching an OOH audience that is 6% more likely to be affluent (household income over $100K) for persons 18-49 or achieving a significant lift for key genre and demos, OOH insights are providing clarity and opportunity to deliver increased audiences to media plans,” Nielsen added.

“What’s more, having a true line of sight into the out-of-home consumer provides advertisers a means of connecting with younger audiences,” the report concluded. “In fact, OOH is a viable way to reach Gen Z and Millennials as these highly social generations have two-times higher OOH percent lifts than Baby Boomers and the Greatest Generation.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.