Social Media is Now Used to Discover New Content, Get News and Resolve Customer Service Issues, Deloitte Survey Finds

American consumers' status as a binge-watching, streaming, multi-tasking nation enters 2017 with strong momentum according to Deloitte's 11th "Digital Democracy Survey." With 84 percent of Americans on social networks – social media has evolved well beyond "socializing" and is being used to discover new content, get news and resolve customer service issues.

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"American consumers continued to stream, binge watch and demand more media in 2016. As the growing forces of social media and over-the-top services continue to accelerate, particularly among millennials and Generation Z, the consumer rules," said Kevin Westcott, vice chairman and U.S. media and entertainment leader, Deloitte LLP. "The shift to streaming, mobile, on-demand services and personalization are significant opportunities in 2017. Brands can bring new value, services and incredibly entertaining content to the empowered consumers across all age groups in a manner that can be monetized."

Deloitte's "Digital Democracy Survey" released today examines the way Americans consume media across generations, the value consumers place on products and services, as well as attitudes and behaviors toward advertising, social networks and mobile technologies

Among the key findings from Deloitte's Digital Democracy survey include:

Almost half (49 percent) of U.S. consumers and nearly 60 percent of generation Z (Gen Z), millennials and Generation X (Gen X) subscribe to at least one paid streaming video service. However, the survey notes that despite the growth of paid streaming services, U.S. consumers spend more time streaming video via free services (40 percent) than paid streaming subscriptions (35 percent).

Seventy-four percent of consumers across U.S. households still subscribe to pay TV such as cable or satellite, but 66 percent of subscribers say they keep their pay TV because it is bundled with their internet.

Nearly three quarters (73 percent) of U.S. consumers (up 3 percent from 2015) and nearly 90 percent of millennials and Gen Z have binge watched video content; almost 40 percent of millennial and Gen Z binge watchers do so weekly. Millennial and Gen Z binge watchers report watching an average of six episodes, or five hours of content, in a single sitting.

The device of choice for key demographics remains split; Gen Z and millennials spend about half their time watching television shows and movies on devices other than a TV. Additionally, Gen X favors the TV by over 60 percent and Baby Boomers watch over 80 percent of programming on the TV.

Nearly all (99 percent) millennials and Gen Z are multitasking while watching TV, averaging four additional activities, such as texting, browsing the web, using social networks, reading email and online shopping.

Sixty-seven percent of consumers, and over 70 percent of Gen Z and millennials, find mobile ads on their phone to be irrelevant; however, 37 percent of consumers find it valuable to receive location-based ads on their smartphone and use them regularly.

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More than 80 percent of consumers will skip an online video ad if allowed. Almost half (46 percent) of consumers said they pay more attention to an ad they can skip versus an ad they cannot skip.

Forty-five percent of millennials use ad-blocking software, with 89 percent of the group saying their primary reason is to avoid all advertising. In fact, 40 percent of them also noted use of ad-blocking software on their smartphones.

Online recommendations on social media (27 percent) are more influential than TV ads (18 percent) for Gen Z in influencing buying decisions.

(For more information visit http://www.deloitte.com/us.)

Bryan Reksten