Altman Vilandrie & Company: Millennials Have Dozens of “Must-Have” TV Programs, with More Than Half Subscribing to Multiple Paid Online Video Providers

New Annual Survey Shows Young Viewers Are Video “Super Consumers,” Who “Program Surf” Online Rather Than Channel Surf

BOSTON--()--Millennials are subscribing to paid online video services at eye-popping rates and have dozens of “must-have” TV programs – more than twice that of older viewers – according to Altman Vilandrie & Company’s annual consumer video survey.

As part of the survey, Altman Vilandrie & Company asked consumers which programs they considered “must-have” shows from a list of 201 shows from broadcast network, cable and online video providers. Younger viewers had significantly more “must-have” shows than older viewers, with 25-34-year-olds selecting on average 33 must-have programs compared to 13 for viewers 55 and older. Young viewers’ top-ranked programs also skew heavily toward cable TV and online sources: viewers under 25 ranked just one program from broadcast networks (“The Simpsons”) in their top five, while the top five choices for viewers 35+ were all from broadcast networks.

The survey results show that nearly 75% of 18-34-year-olds watch TV shows and movies through paid online subscription services (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime) at least weekly, with more than 40% watching daily. Younger viewers are achieving this high viewing rate by using multiple accounts: 78% of 18-34-year-olds have at least one paid online subscription service, 55% subscribe to more than one, and 5% have five or more subscriptions.

“Millennials have become video super consumers and view more programs as essential to their TV purchasing decisions,” said Altman Vilandrie & Company Director Jonathan Hurd, who oversaw the survey. “Young viewers are both actively and passively gravitating toward online sources. In addition to hoarding multiple online accounts, we found that among younger viewers, the age-old tradition of channel surfing has evolved into online program surfing.”

Hurd noted that when consumers were asked which technology platform they typically turn to when they don’t have a plan for what to watch, 77% of 18-24-year-olds selected online video sources rather than broadcast or pay TV. This was in sharp contrast to viewers 55+, 65% of whom conduct unplanned viewing on traditional TV. Younger viewers also rely more on recommendations of peers (either through word of mouth or social media) than any other source when making viewing decisions.

Other key findings of the survey include:

  • Watching TV and movies on the internet has grown significantly the past six years for all ages, with over 80% of those under 35 now doing so at least weekly.
  • Among smartphone owners under age 35, smartphone-based consumption of TV shows and movies has remained level since 2013 but has increased by 70% for those 55+.
  • Tablet consumption of TV shows and movies among tablet owners has decreased across all ages over the past four years. In fact, 18-34-year-olds in 2017 are more likely to watch at least weekly on a laptop (58%) rather than a tablet (47%).
  • Seventy-five percent of under-35 viewers say they will sometimes pause a program and resume watching on a different device, while nearly the same percentage (72%) of viewers 55+ never do this.
  • Younger viewers often multi-task while watching with nearly three-quarters of viewers under 35 saying that they regularly engage in unrelated texting and social media while watching TV.

Additional key portions of analysis are available to media by request.

Altman Vilandrie & Company fielded the online survey in August 2017 to more than 5,000 respondents provided by Survey Sampling International. In 2017, the annual consumer video survey analyzed the impact of collections of specific programs on SVOD service adoption and viewing. In addition, Altman Vilandrie & Company conducted a closed syndicated study analyzing the impact of live channel portfolios on pay TV service adoption. For details about further research topics and more information about the study, contact Jonathan Hurd at

About Altman Vilandrie & Company
Altman Vilandrie & Company is a strategy consulting group that focuses on the telecom, media, technology and investor sectors. The company’s consultants are experienced in strategy, marketing, finance, M&A, technology, regulatory and operations disciplines. Based in Boston and with offices in New York City and San Francisco, Altman Vilandrie & Company enables clients to seize new opportunities, navigate mounting challenges, improve business performance, and increase investor value within complex and converging industries.

Ninety percent of the boutique firm’s operator clients are large- to mid-cap companies including service providers, technology and software developers, and media companies. Altman Vilandrie & Company’s financial clients include many of the largest and most prominent investors in the telecom, media and technology markets.


For Altman Vilandrie & Company
Cort Boulanger, 339-222-2442

Release Summary

Altman Vilandrie & Co. consumer survey: millennials have dozens of "must have" TV shows, more than half subscribe to 2 or more online video services


For Altman Vilandrie & Company
Cort Boulanger, 339-222-2442