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How Video Consumption Has Evolved and Changed the Digital Landscape


Media consumption trends have drastically changed over the past few years. From Netflix binges to YouTube tutorials and TikTok dances, video consumption has seeped into almost every aspect of peoples’ lives.

Gen Z and Millennials essentially grew up with the internet. As such, they prefer to watch online videos over traditional television. And when the pandemic shut people indoors, their media consumption habits rapidly changed.

How Has Video Consumption Changed over Time?

There are three notable ways that video consumption has changed over the recent years:

1. Video as the Dominant Form of Entertainment

What once was a novelty in the early days of the internet is now the driving force behind the most popular apps and websites. It’s estimated that video now makes up over 82% of all internet traffic. A good chunk of that traffic includes paid streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and others.

Streaming certainly disrupted the digital landscape, and the pandemic only accelerated this growth. In a report by Deloitte Insights, average consumers now pay for an average of four streaming services. In addition, about 24% of those people added a new paid streaming service to get the content they wanted.

It’s not just paid streaming services that are seeing growth. User-generated video on social platforms is also exploding.

YouTube reports over 2 billion monthly logged-in users with over 500 hours of content uploaded every minute. Then there’s TikTok, which already has over 1 billion active users on the platform since its launch in 2017.

Even other social media sites, which traditionally weren’t video-heavy platforms, are pushing video interaction into their infrastructure, like Facebook Watch or Instagram’s IGTV and Reels. From 2020 to 2022, Instagram saw a video viewership increase of over 23%, and in the same time frame, Snapchat rose 31.2% in viewership. Social apps are now pivoting to capture more of the demand for video content, even setting aside their traditional features in favor of more engaging short-form video clips.

2. Increasing Reliance on Video

An increasing number of users place more value on video content beyond its pure entertainment value.

In our recently published Channel Factory report, over 56% of those surveyed use YouTube to relax and watch entertaining videos. In the same survey, 41% of Gen Zers specified using video to boost their mood.

In a separate survey sent out by Google (who owns YouTube), they discovered that 1 in 2 Gen Zers and Millennials “don’t know how they’d get through life without video.” Among the reasons given, the number one response was that it helps them “relax and unwind.”

Other respondents stated that they use video to help them solve problems, learn new skills, or dig deeper into their passions and interests.

Another video consumption trend is information gathering, particularly with products. People are turning more and more to video content to learn about a brand or product, watch product demos, or get reviews and recommendations from actual users who have experience with the products in question. Channel Factory recently found that 26% of consumers rely on social video platforms to find information about a product, and 22% have even shopped video ads.

Many brands, manufacturers, and retailers have caught on to this and now leverage video to their advantage. Video can help establish themselves as an authority in their space and communicate their message more effectively than written content. It can also provide a higher ROI than other forms of advertising

3. High Production Values and Celebrity Names Are Less Important

It turns out you don’t need a huge budget or A-list celebrities to get attention. What you do need is relatable content that speaks to the viewer. 

Gen Z and millennial media consumption is more accepting of low-budget productions. In a survey sent out by Google (who owns YouTube), they noted that “traditional TV-era quality markers are less important to viewers than they once were.” 

These markers include “high production quality” and “having famous actors,” which all ranked toward the bottom of peoples’ reasons for watching video content. 

“Being on a network or platform they like” also ranked low. With so many free and paid streaming services available, users can be more platform-agnostic than ever—they’ll go wherever their favorite content is available and cancel subscriptions that no longer provide them value.

And as evidenced by the incredible growth of platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Twitch, many users gravitate more toward platforms that allow them to dive deeper into their passions. 

Viewers now chase content exploration, with more creators and influencers outside their core interests. In 2022 over 34% of Youtube users and 32.5% of TikTok users said they like to “mix it up” when watching videos. Instead of finding a new show or movie, they’re more likely to learn a new hobby or find info on a new topic. 

Take Advantage of Video Consumption Trends

Video consumption is constantly changing, so video creators and advertisers need to take advantage of these trends. Channel Factory can help you optimize your next ad campaign for the best performance. Reach out to us today and drive meaningful results with your videos.