Gen Z Prefers Video Games to Streaming: Your Move Hollywood

Gen Z Prefers Video Games to Streaming: Your Move Hollywood

Hollywood is on notice: Gen Z would rather scroll through social media, play video games and stream music than watch TV or catch a film.


That's a remarkable shift from earlier generations – who still prefer to kick back and watch a screen – and poses serious challenges to traditional media, according to an annual survey of digital trends by Deloitte.

Asked to choose their favorite entertainment activity, the top response among Generation Z was video gaming (26%), followed by listening to music (14%), browsing the internet (12%), engaging on social platforms (11%) and then watching TV or movies at home (10%).

Administered in February as the pandemic was raging, the survey of more than 2,000 U.S. consumers reflects the rising popularity of gaming across ages but most starkly highlights the digital divide among generations.

"Media companies and advertisers may still be video-first, but younger generations may not be," the report said.

Of the Generation Z respondents, defined as those born between 1997 and 2007, 87% play video games daily or weekly, on smartphones, consoles or computers. And while a majority of the respondents, including millennials and Generation X, said video games have helped them stay connected to others during the pandemic, they see entertainment differently.

For all other generations (Millennials: born 1983-1996; Gen X: 1966-1982; Boomers: 1947-1965 and Matures: 1946 and prior), kicking back and watching the tube came in as the number one entertainment option.

Here are some additional takeaways:

Video Streaming

  • 82% of U.S. consumers have at least one video streaming subscription
  • The average subscriber pays for four services
  • Cost is the most important factor for deciding whether to subscribe to a new streaming service, followed by content selection
  • 52% find it difficult to access content across so many services
  • 53% are frustrated by the need to have multiple service subscriptions
  • 40% would prefer to pay $12 a month for an ad-free video service, while 60% said they'd accept some ads for a lower fee.

Music Streaming

  • Streaming music subscribers pay for an average of two paid music services
  • 45% would rather pay than have ads for their music streaming; 67% of millennials would prefer to pay

Social Media

    • 67% don't trust the news they see on social media
    • 55% of Generation Z and 66% of millennials say social media ads influence their purchasing choices versus 49% of Generation X and 13% of boomers
    • 40% would be willing to provide more personal information to receive more targeted ads
    • 62% of Gen Z and 72% of millennials would rather see personalized ads than generic
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    Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior finance reporter. Previously he was a senior business reporter and host at KPCC, a senior producer at Gimlet Media, a producer at NPR's Morning Edition, and produced two investigative documentaries for KCET. He has been a frequent on-air contributor to business coverage on NPR and Marketplace and has written for The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review. Ben was a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism at Columbia Business School. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, playing poker, and cheering on The Seattle Seahawks.

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