Gen Z is typically less engaged with traditional media, but COVID-19 is drawing a younger audience to TV and is likely to change their media consumption habits permanently.
That’s the view of Daniel Bischoff, chief marketing & operations officer at RTL AdConnect, part of the Luxembourg-based media group RTL Group.
Writing for WARC, he notes that “all over Europe, television … is regaining its role as the ‘family hearth’” – a place where people come together to catch up on the day’s news and seek out entertainment.
He reports that while the data indicates a rise in viewing is apparent across all age groups, this is most significant among the younger population.
“Figures from the Netherlands, for example, show a 155% increase in the amount of kids TV being watched; in France there is an increase of 21 percentage points in the number of 15- to 24-year-olds watching TV each day.
“And, in France, this young audience viewing hours increased 36% in March 2020, compared to 24% for 25 to 49s and 16% for over-50s.”
All this, he argues, will have a long-term effect on the media consumption habits of Gen Z – a demographic some media experts have suggested won’t even know what “TV” is – as the medium enables them to get together with their families and provides a strong anchor during lockdown.
This inter-generational TV experience is rewriting the media expectations of younger people who are now more likely to regard broadcast news as relevant to their lives, while shared entertainment moments will create new family memories.
It’s hard to imagine this will completely disappear, says Bischoff. “Even when we’re back to our busy lives, families are going to recognise the pleasure of hanging out, not doing much, and make a point of building it into their schedules.”