English titleWhich factors influence Generation Z’s content selection in OTT TV?A Case StudySwedish titleVilka faktorer påverkar Generation Z:s beslut när de väljer innehåll iOTT-tv?En fallstudieAuthorHanna Patch, [email protected] for the completion of the KTH program;Media Management, Master of Science in Computer Science and EngineeringSupervisor: Christopher Rosenqvist, Stockholm School of Economics, Department of Marketing andStrategyIndustry Supervisor: Diego Hernandez, Accedo Broadband ABExaminer: Haibo Lee, KTH, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Department ofMedia Technology and Interaction Design.Date of submission: 2018-06-5

ABSTRACT:As digital technologies rapidly evolve, traditional television is being disrupted by the development ofmore devices, screens, and content. Over-the-top television [OTT TV] is replacing linear TV at a growingrate. A majority of consumers of over-the-top content are found in the generational cohort, Generation Z.As true digital natives, this generation is comfortable navigating a variety of online TV platforms anddevices, while also being more susceptible to short attention-span and information overload. It is thereforenecessary to understand how this emerging cohort makes choices in a TV landscape that is becomingincreasingly overloaded with new content.The purpose of this study is to understand which user interface components Generation Z takes intoconsideration when selecting content in OTT TV. Multiple methodologies were selected to investigatethese media habits. Think-aloud usability testing and interview determined Generation Z’s natural mediabehavior while browsing OTT content. Online survey data was collected from a broader sample,comparing Generation Z and Generation Y. It was discovered that both generations have similar behaviorsin which user interface components influence content choice. The research also revealed trends in whichcomponents are important to Generation Z and why. This research is the first step to making informed anddata-driven decisions in the design and implementation of OTT TV platforms for Generation Z, thuslessening cognitive overload and creating optimal user experiences.SAMMANFATTNING:Med den digitala teknologins snabba utveckling, förändras traditionell tv i och med inverkan av fleraenheter, skärmar och innehåll. Over-the-top-tv [OTT-tv] ersätter linjär tv i en växande takt. Majoritetenav konsumenterna av over-the-top-innehåll finns inom en specifik generation, Generation Z. Som äktadigitala infödingar kan den här generationen lätt navigera ett flertal online-tv-plattformar och enheter,samtidigt som den har kort koncentrationsförmåga och är mer mottaglig för informationsöverbelastning.Det är därför nödvändigt att förstå hur denna växande grupp gör val i ett tv-landskap som blir alltmeröverbelastat med nytt innehåll.Syftet med denna studie är att förstå vilka användargränssnitts-komponenter Generation Z tar hänsyn tillnär de väljer innehåll på OTT-tv. Flera metoder användes för att undersöka gruppens medievanor.Användbarhetstest och intervjuer avslöjade Generation Z: s naturliga beteende när de letar efter OTTinnehåll. Enkätundersökningsdata från en större grupp jämförde Generation Z och Generation Y. Detupptäcktes att båda generationerna har liknande beteenden där användargränssnitts-komponenter påverkarvalet av innehåll. Forskningen visade också trender för vilka komponenter som är viktiga för GenerationZ och varför. Den här forskningen är det första steget i att göra informerade och datadrivna beslut i designoch implementering av OTT-tv-plattformar för Generation Z, vilket minskar den kognitivaöverbelastningen och skapar optimala användarupplevelser.KEYWORDSGeneration Z, Digital Natives, Over-the-top television, Video-on-demand, Video consumption, Behavior

Which factors influence Generation Z’s content selectionin OTT TV? A Case StudyHanna PatchThe Royal Institute of TechnologySchool of Electrical Engineering and Computer [email protected] digital technologies rapidly evolve, traditional televisionis being disrupted by the development of more devices,screens, and content. Over-the-top television [OTT TV] isreplacing linear TV at a growing rate. A majority ofconsumers of over-the-top content are found in thegenerational cohort, Generation Z. As true digital natives,this generation is comfortable navigating a variety of onlineTV platforms and devices, while also being more susceptibleto short attention-span and information overload. It istherefore necessary to understand how this emerging cohortmakes choices in a TV landscape that is becomingincreasingly overloaded with new content.The purpose of this study is to understand which userinterface components Generation Z takes into considerationwhen selecting content in OTT TV. Multiple methodologieswere selected to investigate these media habits. Think-aloudusability testing and interview determined Generation Z’snatural media behavior while browsing OTT content. Onlinesurvey data was collected from a broader sample, comparingGeneration Z and Generation Y. It was discovered that bothgenerations have similar behaviors in which user interfacecomponents influence content choice. The research alsorevealed trends in which components are important toGeneration Z and why. This research is the first step tomaking informed and data-driven decisions in the design andimplementation of OTT TV platforms for Generation Z, thuslessening cognitive overload and creating optimal userexperiences.Author KeywordsGeneration Z, Digital Natives, Over-the-top television,Video-on-demand, Video consumption, Behavior1. INTRODUCTIONThe landscape of today’s media industry has changeddrastically as a result of digitalization. Faster networktechnologies, coupled with an increasing variety of screensand sources of television content, has brought about anevolution in television [1]. Linear TV, or traditionalbroadcast television, is declining in favor of TV that can beconsumed anywhere, anytime [31]. This shift, also known ascord-cutting [31], can largely be attributed to the emergenceof over-the-top television (OTT TV) [25]. OTT content “isnetwork content available for online streaming” [25]. Thisincludes popular video-on demand (VoD) streaming servicesthat use a subscription model, such as Netflix, Hulu andAmazon Prime.The rise and popularity of OTT TV has repercussions for themedia habits of all users, but specifically the buddinggenerational cohort, Generation Z. As one of the largest usersof OTT TV, this generational cohort uses linear tv to asmaller extent than older generations, instead preferring OTTservices. Being accustomed to a vast amount of OTT contenthas had many consequences for the media behaviors ofGeneration Z, including an effect on their ability tocognitively process and choose content. As consumers’media motivations and habits are actively shaping the newtelevision landscape, it is important to understand how thisgeneration chooses content to watch in OTT platforms.Through mixed research methods, including survey, usertesting, and interview, this study intends to take the initialstep in developing this knowledge, leading to more informeddecisions in the creation of OTT platforms for Generation Z.2. LITERATURE REVIEWExisting research has already determined the importance ofstudying media preferences and behavior. The uses andgratifications theory emphasizes that consumer media habitsand motivations actively shape the media landscape.Generational theory sustains that generational cohortsexhibit similar media habits. Generation and age studies,have illustrated unique obstacles Generation Z faces inconsuming OTT TV. The following section expands on thisrelated literature and research, as well as Generation Z andtheir media behaviors.2.1 Generation ZAlso known as the Net Generation and iGen, among others,this generational cohort does not have a commonly accepteddefinition [19], though most demographers place thembeginning in the year 1995 or later [16]. Generation Z is moreconnected than any generation before it [16]. Their formativeyears were defined by daily internet and social media use[35], making them true digital natives. This is in contrast toolder cohorts, who can remember the “intersection betweenthe analog and digital world” [35]. Generation Z is also thefirst truly global generation [15], thanks to large digital

networks facilitated by ubiquitous smart devices. It isexpected that Generation Z will account for 40 percent of allconsumers by the year 2020 [24].Unsurprisingly, Generation Z dominates the streamingpopulation [28]. They were the first generation to grow upwith on-demand television content. As a result, this cohortdoes not view OTT TV as a new way of watching television,just what they consider to be “watching TV” [14]. It is thusnot surprising that “usage of OTT devices and services ishighest in households with teens, the largest segment of GenZ” [14]. This preference for OTT content and services isonly growing [19].As “users’ characteristics determine a system’s acceptanceand use” [3], further research into this emerging cohort isnecessitated. Insight into how Generation Z interacts withOTT content is the first step in facilitating their needs andexpectations, thus improving system acceptance for OTTplatforms.2.2 Theoretical Background2.2.1 Uses and Gratification TheoryThe uses and gratification theory has been used to determinevarious motivations in television use. Additionally, it statesthat these motivations not only influence media habits andbehavior, but also form expectations about media content [6].Hence “consumers are not passively affected by technologybut, rather, actively shape its use and influence” [17].Generation Z, for instance, is largely motivated by peerswhen selecting content to watch [14], and consequentlyexpect recommendations or ratings in OTT platforms.2.2.2 Generational Differences in Media ConsumptionGenerational theory asserts that it is not necessarily age, butone’s generation, that shapes habits and behavior [6].Generational differences in media use stem from mediahabits and patterns that were developed at a young age, andshaped by societal values of the time [18]. As a result,generational cohorts tend to exhibit similar media behaviorseven as they age, tied to common generational experiences.This is exemplified by Generation Z’s moniker, the NetGeneration, fittingly entitled by the prevalence of onlineplatforms in their youth. Along the same line, Baby Boomers(born 1946-1964) are often referred to as the TV Generation[27].Many media behaviors and habits have already beenattributed to Generation Z. As an example, Generation Z’steenagers have been found to prefer multimedia content(images, videos, etc.) over text, while the young adults prefertext that is easy to scan [22]. Additionally, they often takepart in second-screening, with “9 in 10 saying they useanother device while watching TV” [12]. They are also morelikely to watch television content on mobile devices [29],being more competent on mobile phones in comparison toolder generations [23].2.2.3 Media Multitasking and Information OverloadAs Generation Z are comfortable managing multiple devices,typically having access to many screens [33], this enablesmedia multitasking or “engaging in more than one mediaactivity at a time [34]. Carrier, et. al [7] found an increase inmedia multitasking from older to younger generations.Furthermore, teens ages 13 to 16 spent the most time onmedia multitasking in comparison to six older cohorts, whiletelevision multitasking was specifically popular [34].This media multitasking can “hamper learning performance,cause stress, limit enjoyment of media, and causeinformation overload” [34]. The effects are heightened inGeneration Z, as young people are also more likely to sufferfrom information overload. They were found to “express themost difficulty in dealing with large quantities ofinformation” [2]. Generation Z is said to have an attentionspan of about eight seconds [10], potentially pushingcognitive limits even further.As OTT platforms offer a vast array of content, this hasimplications for limits in how Generation Z selects contentand navigates platforms.3. SCOPE OF THE STUDY3.1 Research QuestionIn the process of improving system acceptance, limitinginformation overload, and more broadly, meeting theexpectations of Generation Z, it is necessary to understandwhat exactly influences their choice when selecting contentto watch. Thus, the research question for this exploratorystudy was formulated:RQ: Which UI components does Generation Z take intoconsideration when selecting video content to watch in OTTTV?Mixed methods, both qualitative and quantitative, were usedto answer this in a comprehensive and thorough manner.3.2 AccedoThe industry partner in this study, Accedo, is one of theworld’s leading video experience companies, offering a widearray of video and multiscreen solutions [32]. According toUI/UX experts at Accedo, OTT systems are generallydesigned based on assumption of best design practices andend-user preferences. Resources are often not available toresearch and gather data for how the end-user experiencesOTT TV. In benefit of the company, this research also aimsto affirm/deny some these assumptions, so that design of userinterfaces is data-driven.Accordingly, a VoD platform developed by Accedo wastested in the qualitative portion of this study. This platformfeatures various television series produced around the worldas its content.

4. METHODThrough workshops with the UI/UX experts at Accedo, ninecommon components of VoD user interfaces were identified.These co