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Television viewing trends: Rise of mobile consumers

Small-screen TV viewing on the rise

Mobile devices like tablets and smartphones are changing the way many people view TV content. The proportion of TV viewing time on smaller screens (smartphones/tablets) has grown significantly over the last few years, particularly among “MilleXZials” (a demographic group that combines millennials, Gen X, and Gen Z, covering ages 14–51).¹

Breakdown of TV content viewing time by screens

Deloitte’s analysis shows that the proportion of TV content viewing time on smartphones and tablets almost doubled between 2014 and 2017, growing from 9 percent to 16 percent. The trend was even more pronounced among the MilleXZials, who spent close to 22 percent of their TV viewing time on smaller screens.2 Likely one of the main reasons for this growth is video streaming, which is helping enable a new level of autonomy. In addition, the pervasiveness of smart devices and enhanced coverage of high-speed mobile data can allow consumers to watch TV content anywhere, anytime on mobile devices.3

An interesting question is: Whose market share are the mobile screens eroding? It appears that midsize screens—laptop and desktop computers, once the preferred devices for viewing video content—may be the biggest casualties.

Not so long ago, TV content viewing was limited to the living room. Today, however, mobile screens can enable consumers to watch TV whenever and wherever they want—even while commuting. This trend has helped increase TV content consumption across the board.4

Media and entertainment players, particularly streaming companies and advertisers, should monitor the growth of mobile viewing. Investing in mobile-friendly or mobile-optimized formats may be the key to attracting mobile video consumers. Broadcasting companies and networks should invest in mobile platforms or become part of one to help gain a share of this growing pie. Having a mobile strategy can help strengthen their competitive position.

This charticle authored by Shashank Srivastava on October 18, 2018.


Deloitte Digital Media Trends data indicates a convergence of media behavior across three key demographics: Gen Z, millennials, and Gen X. We are calling this combined group (Gen Z, millennials, and Gen X) the “MilleXZials.” Deloitte Digital media trends survey, 12th edition.
Sami Main, “TV Viewers Are Demanding More Options, and Streaming Services Are Happy to Oblige,” Adweek, November 20, 2017.

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