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How Gen X and Baby Boomers Watch Video Content & What That Means for Production Teams

How Gen X and Baby Boomers Watch Video Content

RevBlogCaptionsHow Gen X and Baby Boomers Watch Video Content & What That Means for Production Teams

For whatever types of videos you’re producing, millennials and Gen Zers are natural targets. Collectively, they make up 62% of the population. They consume an enormous amount of content every day, whether on their phones or desktops.

But video production teams shouldn’t overlook the older generations — Gen Xers and baby boomers. Not only are they embracing digital video through social media, but, unlike millennials and Gen Z, they also have money to spend.

To better understand how older generations consume video content, we’ll look at their specific preferences for watching social media, news media, streaming content, and marketing videos. We’ll also dig more into why Gen Xers and baby boomers should be targeted by video production teams.

Gen X

Gen Xers, aged 40 to 54, typically watch videos on social media — YouTube and Facebook being their top channels. Gen Xers’ activity on these channels is low-hanging fruit for production teams, specifically when it comes to the type of content they’re watching.

Social Media Video Habits

Gen Xers are responsible for 1.5B daily views on YouTube. According to Think with Google, Gen Xers frequent this channel to reminisce about past times or events, to stay up to date on news and trends, or to learn how to do something.

Gen Xers are a generation highly influenced by nostalgia. In fact, 75% of Gen Xers watch YouTube videos that relate to past events or people. For example, Think with Google found that Gen Xers search for things such as “Prince Purple Rain” or “Commercials from the 90s” on YouTube. As you create YouTube content, consider Gen Xers’ love of throwbacks. Try incorporating soundtracks from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s into your videos.

In addition, 73% of Gen Xers watch YouTube to learn how to do something. Similarly, they enjoy DIY content for things like cooking and home repair. Make your content educational or informative, but digestible.

They also use the channel to stay “in the know” with events, terms, and fads to better interact with their children. But Generation Xers are extremely busy, balancing careers and families. Gen Xers love engaging with and watching videos on social media but need to digest info on the go. Rev’s captioning option for YouTube assists with this issue.

News Media Video Habits

Surprisingly, instead of turning to traditional channels, such as basic cable TV, for their news, Gen Xers consume their news and information about the world via YouTube; 68% of Gen Xers watch YouTube to stay up to date on news and pop culture.

They also use Facebook as a way to stay informed. In fact, Gen Xers’ Facebook engagement matches that of millennials (49%).

Their approach to news consumption via social media is representative of their approach to these channels. Gen Xers head to YouTube and Facebook with a purpose. Unlike millennials’ use of these platforms, Gen Xers aren’t looking to waste time. They’re goal-oriented.

Video production teams can take advantage of Gen Xers’ approach to the news by producing purpose-driven content.

Streaming Habits

Over 75% of Gen Xers watch digital video (e.g., Netflix, Hulu) at least once a month. Their rising interest in streaming video is significantly impacting traditional TV viewing. In fact, Gen Xers’ traditional viewing has decreased from 60.2 million to 57.8 million since 2017, and digital video consumption has increased from 51.5 million to 52.1 million.

Some of their favorite streaming services include Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu:

Gen Xers spend a third of their daily time watching TV-based content through online TV/streaming services. This fact demonstrates their embracement of digital channels to engage with content. They’re also more likely to use their smartphones to watch videos online.

Ensure that the videos you produce are optimized for mobile. Keep your videos short, and don’t forget to preview on a mobile device before you post (e.g., make sure it makes sense on mute). Also, use Rev’s caption size options to make the text big and viewable on Gen Xers’ smartphones.

Marketing Videos

Gen Xers aren’t to be overlooked when it comes to marketing videos (i.e., videos that you use to promote your product or service). This generation has the spending power and is paying attention to product videos on Facebook.

Ninety-five percent of Gen Xers use Facebook and enjoy watching marketing videos there. In fact, Gen Xers are more likely to share videos than links or articles on Facebook. And around half of Gen Xers respond to discounts and coupons to make a purchase (around a quarter of Gen Xers are motivated by good deals).

Pair discounts and coupons with your Facebook product videos as a way to capture Gen Xers’ business. For example, start by running a Facebook ad campaign with a video. When viewers interact with this video, a series of promotional Facebook ads is triggered. If you do it right, you’ll reap high rewards: Gen Xers are the most loyal to brands, and three in five will continue to support brands they like.

Action Plan for Gen X

Gen Xers have needs as unique as younger generations. They’re busy with both careers and family but appreciate time spent watching throwback content from their childhood or teenage years. Gen Xers are also resourceful and look for videos that help them learn on their own.

Unfortunately, 54% of Gen Xers feel frustrated that brands constantly ignore them, despite the fact that they hold a large portion of the purchasing power. Video production teams should not try a “one size fits all” approach. Instead, they should align content with Gen Xers’ busy schedules and desire for educational videos on social media.

Rev gives video production teams the ability to integrate captions with YouTube and Facebook. Captioning improves the overall viewing experience for Gen Xers because they can consume videos on the go. Plus, they can also watch videos on mute, such as at work or at the doctor’s office.

For Facebook videos, Rev automatically formats video files to meet these specific naming requirements, saving your team valuable time. Rev’s YouTube integration also means that you can simply add captions and upload videos directly to your account. Rev captions guarantee 99% accuracy and cost $1 per video minute.

Baby Boomers

Baby boomers, ages 55 to 65, primarily watch videos on YouTube and Facebook as a way to save time during their busy schedules. Many companies largely ignore baby boomers, but to their own detriment. They are the wealthiest demographic and the biggest spenders.

Social Media Video Habits

Baby boomers’ social media video habits are aligned with that of Gen X: 82% of video-watching baby boomers use YouTube. Boomers, in general, prefer YouTube for online video consumption. In fact, over 3,600 boomers Google the term “YouTube” every minute.

Think by Google found that baby boomers primarily turn to YouTube because they want to save time, get help, or learn something new and want to stay plugged in with entertainment and news.

Video production teams will find it easier to connect with baby boomers if they produce content that addresses their wants. How-to and instructional videos that are supported by Rev captioning (to assist with watch time) will be important combinations.

News Media Video Habits

Unlike Gen Xers, the majority of baby boomers still embrace traditional TV for consuming news: 28% of baby boomers consume news online (including social media) while 51% watch the news on TV.

And baby boomers not only prefer TV as their main video channel but also spend an average of five hours a day watching traditional TV. But it’s important to note that internet-connected TV watching among 50- to 64-year-olds grew by 45% in 2017.

Take advantage of both types of TV — these channels hold baby boomers’ attention. Create advertisements that can be aired during news programs. Content should empathize with the struggles that baby boomers face, such as dealing with an uncertain retirement or paying off mortgages.

Streaming Habits

Even though traditional TV is still the base for baby boomers, over half of all older consumers are already subscribing to at least one streaming service, with a quarter of Americans over age 50 cutting the cord on their cable subscription.

According to a survey by Rotten Tomatoes, Netflix is the streaming choice for this generation. The platform is primarily viewed via desktop by baby boomers, and the number of hours they spend there is high:


For video production, create videos with desktop viewing in mind. For example, research which video formats are best for the web, and consider compressing audio to reduce the size of the video.

Marketing Videos

Baby boomers are three times more likely to pay attention to a YouTube ad versus a television ad, and they are twice as likely to pay attention to a Facebook or Instagram ad over a TV ad. And this generation actually has money to spend — baby boomers are staying in the workforce longer and are continuing to build up their wealth over time. They hold $2.6 trillion in buying power.

They also spend more via online shopping. Over 53% of baby boomers prefer shopping online over brick-and-mortar stores.

Based on baby boomers’ high disposable income and preference for online shopping, video production teams must optimize marketing videos across devices, with text size readable on both a desktop and a mobile device. Rev gives you the option to adjust the size of video captions.

Action plan for Baby boomers

Although the other video consumption habits are important to consider, YouTube stands out as a favorite video platform of baby boomers. Baby boomers turn to YouTube because they’re busy and don’t want to be locked into hours of commercial programming.

Instead, they like to save time by watching quick YouTube videos. Production teams that incorporate closed captioning will be more effective in holding baby boomers’ attention, thus increasing their average watch time.

In addition, as baby boomers struggle with disabilities as they grow older (e.g., diminished hearing, diminished eyesight), captioning ensures that your videos are accessible and ADA compliant. It also helps baby boomers feel valued by your brand.

Use Rev to link a transcript caption file and force YouTube captions to help baby boomers save time and make it easier for those with disabilities to watch your videos. Captioning costs $1 per video minute, and subtitles range from $3-$7 per video minute.

Incorporate Older Generations’ Preferences into Video Production

Gen Xers and baby boomers are often dismissed in marketing campaigns in favor of Gen Zers and millennials. Armed with an understanding of how these generations consume videos, as well as their specific needs, video production teams have a unique opportunity to capture the spending of older generations. Contact us here at Rev to learn more about how Rev simplifies video production.

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