MTV Looks at ‘Millennials Now’ Through Online Video Content

Alisonhillhouse by Alison Hillhouse, MTV Research

Nick Cannon

It’s well known that Millennials, or those born between 1981 and 2000, are voracious consumers of online video content — as well as creators and sharers of this content. In “Millennials Now,” MTV examined video content created and shared by Millennials over the past year – from viral videos to YouTube creator series to Vines – to determine what this content reveals about this generation. Based on this research, the network uncovered several generational trends, including the key insights below.

Key Findings

Millennials have become “real-searchers.”

Millennials are obsessive investigators, spending a lot of time discerning what’s real versus fake online. Whether scrutinizing a video where someone catches on fire while twerking, analyzing the “elevator photo” from Solange and Jay Z’s brawl or trying to determine whether James Franco’s flirtations with a 17-year-old are real or part of a promo, they are highly aware that much of what they are consuming is staged. They seek authenticity where they can find it, especially in the form of YouTube and Vine stars that let them into their real worlds.

Millennials…more like “Meta-lennials.”

Whether dissecting their Tinder dating behaviors, talking about what their 20s should be like, analyzing the impact of technology on humanity today or having a laugh at the whole “Millennial conversation,” they are keen observers of their own behavior and that of their generation.

Nerd is the new normal.

From participating in online Dr. Who Fandoms to obsessing over random hobbies like vampire stake making to watching hours of PewDiePie gaming videos, Millennials are engaging in what used to be coined “nerd” behaviors and now are just categorized as “obsessions” or “passion points.” Nerd culture is no longer niche but fully in the mainstream.

The Methodology

This study was based on qualitative research into video content that is being created and shared, including miscellaneous viral videos, branded content, YouTube stars, Vine stars and remixes.

Alison Hillhouse is Vice President of Insights Innovation for MTV.

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