How Gen Z is Changing Media

Gen Z, who are today's children, is changing media.  They are fueling the shift from television to online, streaming content. 

Their parents, the Millennials, started the shift as they gravitated to online platforms like Netflix and Amazon for their media consumption.  This has led to Gen Z moving even further away from television.  Gen Z watches YouTube clips as naturally as we watched Saturday morning cartoons growing up.

Gen Z's continuing shift away from traditional television is changing media.  Once-popular TV channels for kids are struggling to hold onto them.  Disney Channel, which had shows like That's So Raven, Lizzie McGuire and Hannah Montana in the 2000's, has seen a 28% drop in views.  Freeform (formerly ABC family) has lost 17% of its TV audience.  And in 2016, total primetime viewership at the top 10 Gen Z networks (inluding Disney Junior, Disney XD, Nck-at-Nite, Nick Jr., Nicktoons, Boomerang and Baby First) fell by 8%.  

Gen Z spends more time on the internet than they do watching TV on a regular TV set.  They are more likely to watch shows and movies on a tablet, smartphone or other device.  Media providers that are thriving are keying in on this and providing streaming programming.  An example is Netflix, who is launching new kids shows all the time.  Of the 400 original series, movies and specials that the company has announced, 60 of them are kids' programs.  Half of the Netflix subscribers around the world watch kids and family programming.  Amazon has also taken notice and is catering to Gen Z.  The company is amping up it's kids' content.  An example is streaming most of PBS's popular kids shows like Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood and Odd Squad.

This trend will only continue to gain momentum as companies allocate additional funding for online programming such as web videos, live-streaming shows, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, quizzes, guides, games and apps.

What implications does this has for children's ministry?

What changes should we be making to reach Gen Z?

Will streaming, digital children's ministry one day be the predominant method of reaching and teaching kids and families?

These are questions that we must address now and in the next few years, if we are to remain relevant to Gen Z.