YouTube Surpasses Netflix as Top Video Choice for U.S. Teens, New Survey Finds

37% of teenagers say they spend the majority of their time watching content on YouTube

YouTube has surpassed Netflix as the preferred video streaming site for U.S. teens, according to a new survey from Piper Jaffray released on Tuesday morning.

The investment firm found 37% of teenagers spend the majority of their streaming time on YouTube, compared to 35% for Netflix — marking the first time YouTube had topped the entertainment giant. More than 9,500 people participated in the biannual “Taking Stock with Teens” survey, with the average age being nearly 16-years-old.

This comes after Netflix enjoyed a 37% to 32% advantage on YouTube in the spring, the last time Piper Jaffray surveyed teens.

YouTube’s surge had more to do with its wide-range of content, rather than any Netflix shortcomings, PJ analysts Michael Olson and Yung Kim said in a note to clients.

“Netflix lost the leading position, but we believe YouTube’s more varied content library is a significant driver,” Olson and Kim wrote. “Specifically, we note that, while YouTube does offer movies and other scripted content for a fee, the YouTube library includes music videos, video game streaming, DIY guides, social media influencer videos and other crowd sourced content. We believe the Teen results are indicative of YouTube as a source for a wide array of teen oriented content.”

It’s also worth pointing out Netflix costs between $8.99 and $15.99 per month in the U.S., while YouTube is ad-supported.

Still, Netflix is sitting pretty when compared to both its streaming counterparts and traditional TV providers. Only 12% of teens said they spend most of their time watching cable TV, marking a 10% drop from the second half of 2017. Amazon Prime Video and Hulu combined to represent less than 10% of teens’ favorite content options, according to the survey.

Netflix is the world’s largest streaming service, with more than 150 million global subscribers. After missing second quarter growth projections, Netflix is expected to release its Q3 financial report later this month.

Sean Burch

Sean Burch

Tech reporter • • @seanb44 

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