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Live TV Loses to Digital Among Millennials, Study Says

People ages 18-34 spend more time on their phone or computer than they do watching live TV, according to ComScore

Live television has lost prime status among young people known as Millennials, and 35- to 54-year-olds may soon be next.

In addition, the world’s top digital media properties like Facebook can reach just as large an audience as the four big broadcast networks, according to ComScore’s Cross-Platform report released Wednesday.

People under the age of 35 spent more time on a mobile device or a computer than they did watching live TV in the final three months of last year. In fact, the study found that mobile is quickly approaching equal status with live TV among Millennials. That demographic spends 47 percent of its time with live television, while mobile already accounts for 40 percent.

The report noted the possibility that digital share of time spent among 35- to 54-year-olds might also soon surpass live TV. In the fourth quarter, that age group spent 57 percent of its time with live television, compared to 21 percent on desktop and 22 percent on mobile

But overall television viewing is still growing. ComScore said the amount of time watching TV per viewing household is up 7 percent for both live TV and time-shifted viewing on a DVR.

But the majority of revenue for on-demand video comes from online subscription services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus, to the tune of $8.7 billion last year.

ComScore noted that while primetime TV has been the advertising medium that marketers use to reach the largest audiences, top digital media properties can also achieve a similar, if not larger, reach over the course of a single month.

It found Facebook reached an audience of 219 million people in November, which beat the primetime reach of all the broadcast networks except for one. Google sites, which include its dominance in search as well as its massive video site YouTube, trumped all the broadcasters’ primetime audience with 247 million.

In fact, total minutes spent on YouTube has more than doubled in the last two years to more than 100 million minutes, ComScore reported.