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In the dynamic world of always-on information and entertainment, young consumers are quickly embracing advancing trends and technologies. Virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) and interactive storytelling are natural next steps for generations Y and Z (which we call “Generation Now”).

The combined generations’ appetite for new content has huge implications for all companies, whether they’re media, entertainment, internet platform or over-the-top (OTT) companies.

Our research shows that Gen Now takes a nuanced view of experiences. The findings are certain to impact the future delivery of experiences for news, information and entertainment.

Knowing how Gen Now expects to interact with devices and consume content in the next three to five years will help businesses create meaningful experiences that resonate with them.

Content demand goes up, up, up

The next three to five years will see demand for content escalate across all devices.

Consumers will continue their love of all things mobile. Smartphone use will increase an average of 12%. Social media and YouTube videos take the top two spots for preferred content type. User-generated content continues its rise in credibility among consumers, and mobile phones are their preferred platform for viewing this type of content.

At the same time, the largest screen continues to hold its own; respondents predict that their television usage will grow an average of 11% in the next three to five years.

The biggest gains in usage, however, are on laptops and tablets. Usage on these portable devices will spike 20%, largely due to increased YouTube viewing and continued growth in online gaming, including the growing popularity of watching gamers compete through streaming services such as Twitch.

Ready and waiting for virtual reality

All respondents showed a high level of interest in  VR-based content, but Gen Z is the most enthusiastic about this type of entertainment experience.

When it comes to VR-based entertainment (playing games, watching others play games, watching shows, and watching movies), Gen Now is overwhelmingly enthusiastic. A majority of Gen Y (57%) and Gen Z (60%) say they’re likely to consume VR content in the near future.

Next steps

Rather than being passive consumers of content, young customers want deeper interaction with it. More control over content is a must-have, especially in collaboration (or competition) with other users.

The following steps will ensure that businesses are ready to meet Gen Now’s expectations:

  • Experiment with content, consumption and engagement models to monetize experiences. New models could involve, for example, co-creating interactive shows and games with studios and video game developers and sharing revenue from the purchase of premium features or virtual objects in games.
  • Explore use cases for VR/AR to drive customer retention and new revenue streams. In addition to the current focus on entertainment and online gaming, consider alliances with industry or professional groups. The goal is to become the preferred provider of, say, VR-enabled services for equipment repair or in-home medical care.
  • Investigate options for interactive content and storytelling. Consider how to monetize the creation and sharing of that content with others. Areas to explore include prototyping new tools and platforms to make content control easier.

The third installment of our series will explore how Gen Now balances privacy with value. Visit us at to download the full report, “The Youth Boom is Here." To learn more, visit our website or contact us.