Why Millennials Prefer TV Over Movies At the Theater

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Not very long ago, young adults used to flock to cinemas to see movies, but with the recent expansion of digital media (Hulu, Chromecast, Netflix, YouTube), film has been put on the backburner and is now second choice to TV. The act of going to the movies and viewing live television used to have broad appeal, so what’s changed? How did TV become so popular among millennials?

How Streaming Television Has Taken Shape

Why take the time to watch something on a TV set when you can stream it on a device in the palm of your hand? The growth of modern technology-online media and portable devices, have made it so easy to enjoy TV away from home. In a recent survey conducted by, it was determined that the millennial generation watches less live programming, and about only one-third of millennials watch live TV at all.

Instead, they rely on streaming services and social media as a primary viewing resource. With the exception of live sporting events which lose relevance quickly, most millennials are content with catching up on their favorite show or program well after its initial debut.

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This survey also showed that since online media streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime Instant Video allow us to watch TV shows like Breaking Bad and Orange is the New Black in full, we can binge watch these shows without losing any continuity. Because of the convenience of online media we now have the ability to watch TV on our own schedule and not miss a beat.

How Have Movies Gone Out of Style

In contrast to TV, movies are more of a sustained time commitment, not to mention the strain they put on your wallet. With the increase of ticket prices, less people want to go to movies. Bloomberg Business Week states that over the past decade the price of the average movie ticket has increased by nearly one-third, it’s now at $8.13. And with the addition of IMAX 3D, tickets are even more expensive.  As a result, movies theaters usually rely on “frequent movie goers”- people who go to movies at least once a month- to fill the seats.

The Hard Facts

We clearly like online media. Marketing reports that 34 percent of Millennials (18-34) prefer to watch digital media. While only 20 percent of Gen X (35-49) and just 10 percent of Baby Boomers say that they prefer it to live television. Technology is advancing and most millennials are already onboard.

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In addition to studio-produced programing, user-produced online content is also very popular. Marketing Charts tells us that the most popular content on video hosting websites such YouTube and Blip TV are funny video clips. These videos account for 52 percent of online streaming activity while movies, movie clips, and trailers constitute the other 46 percent. It is no accident that much of this content is more abbreviated and concise than regular television shows and movies.

What’s happening right now?

We want our content and we want it now. It’s not that millennials naturally possess shorter attention spans, it’s that pertinence and brevity is what we are accustomed to. According to VisionCritical we would prefer to watch a clip of the funniest or “best of” moments of late night TV programs like Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, rather than the show in its entirety. We have to be able to talk about the moment with our friends the next day! For instance, who hasn’t seen the clip of Kanye West saying, “I’m gonna let you finish” at the VMAs?

How can I get connected to streaming media?

If you are not already using these services, here are two to consider. Many of these online media streaming services are relatively inexpensive and are easily accessible. Netflix is probably the most popular. Its streaming services costs a minimum of $7.99 a month and is available on almost any device. Netflix’s specialty is movies, but it also offers a wide variety of television shows. Hulu Plus is basically Netflix in reverse form. It specializes in TV shows, but offers movies as well. It also costs $7.99 a month, but usually offers episodes of shows just days after they originally air on TV.  For more information about the top streaming services you can visit Digital

TV has now become so popular through a variety of different mediums that other types of entertainment are struggling to catch up and are becoming obsolete. Movies are just too expensive to see and digital media packages such as Netflix and HBO Go are fairly affordable. While Cable TV and movie theaters may eventually be phased out, Cable Internet and the many resources it offers is here to stay. Click here for more information about internet streaming.

What do you think?

Written by Andrew Garrison

Andrew is a graduate of McDaniel College (’13). He is also an aspiring writer and stand-up comedian. He believes that if you are passionate about something, you should go for it! Life is too short for question marks, live life to the fullest while exploring your dreams and see what happens! Andrew presently lives in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.

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