YouTube is the New TV

Generation Z is redefining entertainment, learning, branding and how celebrities (now called influencers for young people) are born, and YouTube is a huge part of that shift. One study conducted by Defy Media for Adweek surveyed a group of 1,452 teens ages 13-20 about what they think about social media platforms, digital video, and the new breed of online celebrity. This survey found that YouTube is a “regular part of their media diet,” with 95% turning to it; half saying they can’t live without it.

This changing landscape of how teens and tweens get their information and entertainment opens the door to all kinds of new ideas on how to reach them from companies trying to get their business, to nonprofits trying to connect with them, and to educators trying to inform them. Gone are the days of compartmentalized ideas and learning- this show on this channel at this time, this idea in only this one book. Information is in one place, readily available in content that speaks to young people. According to a study by Pearson, nearly 60% of Gen Z’ers prefer learning on YouTube to learning through apps, textbooks, or group activities. They may be, in fact, making bigger changes to how all of us digest content and learn than their millennial predecessors.

Even PBS is getting in on the action. Later this year they will be streaming both PBS and PBS live on YouTube TV as a way to reach an even bigger audience of Americans and provide educational and trusted content. They are cementing themselves as part of the change in the way kids learn about themselves and their place in this world.

This powerful shift is something to embrace if we are going to reach today’s youth. The lesson for businesses and educators alike is this: listen closely and meet this generation where they are.