Prepare for Generation Stream. Julie DeTraglia Showcases Hulu's Streaming TV Research

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Generation Stream is Hulu's term for the audience who are on the forefront of cultural change and whose media consumption is mostly or completely streamed video. No longer gathered around the television set with family members, these individuals are best categorized as the harbingers of media-to-come.

But who are they really? Hulu decided to find out by conducting a major study in 2020 through April. Julie DeTraglia, Hulu's head of research and insights, explained that Hulu in partnership with Culture Co-Op designed the study, first with a primary component that queried 20 diverse "Culturesetters" ages 16 to 44. Then, using insights gleaned from that group, the team launched a national survey of 2,500+ diverse Gen Zs, Millennials and Gen Xers, ages 13 to 54. According to DeTraglia, "We tested trends and further explored streaming behavior and preferences. The result included an expansive multi-chapter report, testimonials and curated videos on streaming trends, types, behaviors, classifiers and reactions/preferences around streaming TV."

Overall Trends

Generally speaking, Hulu found that the 13-54 year olds polled in the study were either heavy users of streaming services or intended to subscribe to a streaming service. This indicates a further advancement of streaming as a more dominant form of media consumption in the coming years. "Diving into the experiences and moods of Generation Stream further cements streaming TV as a foundational part of a viewer's day," she explained. The study found that:

  • 90% view TV and movie content on a video streaming platform
  • 75% fill their media consumption time streaming or mostly streaming the video content
  • Among non-streamers, 57% anticipate subscribing to a streaming service within the next 5 years

Generation Stream

Generation Stream is the prevailing consumer segment, representing 90% of all 13-54 year old Americans who stream content. And they love streaming content. According to the findings, 91% of Generation Stream would give up their music streaming service, social media, favorite food, favorite fashion item and favorite brand before they gave up their video streaming service. In fact, the only thing other than video streaming they aren't willing to give up is their hair.

The study pointed out that, "The ripple effect of streaming is as powerful as it is universal. Virtually all (95%) of Generation Stream say streaming has changed their viewing experience in at least one way, from being able to binge content to having more control over their viewing experience to watching niche content." Streaming enables this cohort to watch totally on demand. "They are untethered from the 24-hour day, primetime slots, Nielsen ratings, or set commercial breaks, content has newfound wiggle room," the report depicted. But this brings with it added expectations for more left-of-center shows, more multidimensional characters, more binge-able seasons and generally more content. Over one-third (35%) of Generation Stream says, because of streaming tv, they watch more content than ever before and it's changing their viewing behavior and expectations.

Diving down a little deeper, Generation Stream falls into three key segments of behaviors - those who are Stream Only (37%), Stream Most (47%) and Stream Also (16%).For Hulu specifically, 86% of Hulu subscribers fall into the top two groups - Stream Only (41%) and Stream Most (45%).

The way Generation Stream uses streaming services fall into four behavioral types:

  1. Classic: These viewers tend to stream content in the same manner as people watch traditional TV—at set times, with family, friends or a partner and as part of a daily routine.
  2. Curated: This group is more selective in their streaming content, centering on intelligent, niche and global content that is more than just pure entertainment. They tend to favor shows and movies that spur a cultural conversation to connect them with like-minded communities.
  3. Therapeutic: This group favors streaming content that is more meditative and therapeutic, presumably because it reminds them of childhood, or enables them to lightly reflect.
  4. Indulgent: This group favors streaming content that is totally immersive. They enjoy being fully consumed with shows, 'holing up' for a weekend solo to binge through several seasons of a favored program.

The results of this study will help inform the industry going forward. "The insights in this report uncover what inspires and moves this audience, so that Hulu and our partners can connect with them in meaningful ways, with content, brands and advertising. By exploring this coveted audience, who has been watching TV in a streaming environment for over a decade, 'Generation Stream' helps us understand the why, who and how of streaming TV viewers, and will continue to do so in the coming reports," she concluded.

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