The television of today is no longer the television of yesteryear. Not only the formats seem to have changed fundamentally in the last 20 years, but also the medium.
The younger generation in particular seems to rely primarily on online providers such as YouTube, streaming services or media libraries for their daily stream.
As early as 2014, Netflix boss Reed Hastings announced in an interview with “Wirtschaftswoche” that classic, linear television would soon die out – estimated to be “over a period of 20 years”. Has the conventional mass medium TV with its transmitters and television programs become obsolete?
According to a new study by the Allensbacher Markt- und Werbeträgeranalyse (AWA), the TV that was declared dead should actually live longer. Even in 2022, linear television should still be the most used moving image medium: 96 percent of all respondents use the classic television programs “at least rarely”, 56 percent even daily.
However, there is a catch: the age of the users. Because when it comes to consumer behavior, clear generational differences can be identified. A full 87 percent of those over 70 state that they watch linear television every day, compared to 64 percent of those aged 50 to 69.
The younger users deviate greatly from this: Of the 14 to 29 year olds surveyed, only 27 percent zapped into classic television programs every day. However, 22 percent of them use streaming services on a daily basis. And a full 29 percent frequent YouTube and other online video portals every day.
YouTube series such as “7 vs. Wild” show that online video platforms also offer linear-like formats.
The production of the 33-year-old web video producer Fritz Meinecke appeared on YouTube at the end of 2021 every Wednesday and Saturday at 6 p.m. (CET). Initially, the survival series was particularly popular with YouTubers, influencers and gamers. Soon video bloggers like Rezo or the well-known YouTuber Simon Unge called on their viewers to watch the new episode together and online on the live streaming portal “Twitch” – and the fans followed.
More than five and a half million viewers (as of June 29, 2022) watched the first episode as seven candidates held their ground in the wilderness of Sweden for seven days. However, they were only allowed to take their clothes and a maximum of seven objects with them.
Equipped with a bodycam and a sealed emergency kit including a mobile phone, the so-called “bushcrafters” fended off the nightly cold and an intrusive neighborhood of bears.
Above all, the candidates’ daily wilderness routine seems to fascinate the viewers. Whether it’s preparing a (hopefully) non-toxic mushroom soup or building a place to sleep – the audience is all rooting for it. And probably seldom in the history of watching a pack of YouTube have the viewers and the candidates been so happy about garbage finds such as discarded ropes or an old mason jar.
Perhaps it may be due to the apocalyptic mood that fits so well into our time. Maybe it’s basically the universally popular format of reality TV. Ultimately, however, one has to admit that the YouTube series “7 vs. Wild” lures both survival fans and big city kids separately from each other, but together and above all simultaneously in front of the screens.
In addition to YouTube formats, streaming series also seem to be becoming increasingly popular with the younger target group. This has already been shown by formats such as “Game of Thrones” (HBO), “Squid Game” (Netflix) or “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Amazon Prime).
The Netflix format “Stranger Things” has been able to break some streaming records, especially in recent years. The mystery series about a couple of teenagers who have to deal with monsters and a different “shadow world” in an 80s setting went into its fourth season at the end of May and had the most successful opening weekend of all Netflix series to date .
In the first weekend alone, the new season was viewed more than 286 million hours. In all 93 countries where Netflix is currently collecting numbers, the fourth season landed straight in the top 10 of the series charts.
Such global series successes show one thing above all: Although there seem to be countless streaming formats, a few of them can become real mass consumer goods that (almost) everyone knows.
Thanks to streaming services, Youtube and Co., today’s viewers can consume their favorite formats when, where and how they like it. Nevertheless, streaming series like “Stranger Things” or YouTube formats like “7 vs. Wild” manage to draw the masses back to the media campfire and gather in front of the screens.
And who would have thought that despite an inexhaustible range of streaming series and YouTube formats, the next day at work or in the schoolyard you would hear sentences like “Did you see the last episode?”.