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The Social Reasons why Gen Z Watches TV

Tue, Jul. 18, 2017 | By: Karen Ring


Although television’s primary purpose has always been Entertainment, in a broader sense it has been extremely effective at facilitating shared social experiences. When stumped for small talk at cocktail parties, nothing sparks conversation quite like asking about the latest episode of Game of Thrones, or arguing about who is the worst Real Housewife of all time. Television is the great social enabler: it can stir passionate debates (“Can you believe who got voted off The Voice?”); inspire national dialogues (“Was Jon Stewart a comedian or journalist?”); and contribute to our collective lexicon with words like “pitchy” and “jump the shark.” Even the shyest people can be part of the conversation when talking about a favorite show.

This is how we’ve seen people interact with TV for generations. For Gen Z, fitting in is about social acceptance and inclusion.  So, as the ultimate social generation rises up, we decided to take a look at how they are using TV as social currency.  What we found was that television can provide the common ground for forging connections and fostering conversation. 

  • 43% of Gen Z have watched a show they otherwise would not have watched just to be able to talk about it with other people.
  • 32% of Gen Z have watched a show to impress someone else.
  • 23% of Gen Z have watched a show to look smart.

In fact, 1 in 5 are so eager to be part of the conversation that they will post on social media about liking, loving, or watching a show…without actually seeing the show.

Gen Z might not agree on who should get the red rose, but at least everyone can be part of the conversation.


Note:  All data sourced from Tremor Video’s “How Gen Z Connects to TV” proprietary study with Hulu.  Gen Z sample consisted of respondents aged 14-21.

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