The generational gaps in purchasing video

Video is all around us now. It’s unavoidable. But if you were born before the 1990s, you probably remember a time when it wasn’t.

Film, television, and digital video have all been groundbreaking technologies for each generation. Baby Boomers remember when you could count the number of television channels on one hand. Generation X grew up with some of the best TV sitcoms and blockbuster films to date. Millennials and Gen-Z got to watch the exponential growth of digital video platforms, like YouTube, Facebook video, TikTok, and Twitch.

So when it comes to purchasing video, it makes sense that each generation values the medium differently, based on their lifelong relationship with it. Companies producing a new marketing or brand video need to understand the differences in how each generation watches video as well as what they’re looking for in corporate video purchase and production.

For Boomers, Video is a Hefty—but Worthy—Investment

The older generations tend to view video as an intensive, expensive production. The films and shows they witnessed were full-scale productions, with sets and crews and costly equipment.

We find that when our clients fall into the older generations, they’re generally willing to spend more on video. They often view it as a longer-term investment that they can use for multiple purposes.

On the other hand, some members of this group see video as a laborious process that will suck up all your time and energy. The solution to this qualm, of course, is to offload some of the tedious work, like casting or research, to the production company.

As far as Boomers as an audience are concerned, they’re more likely than younger generations to stay engaged in longer company branding videos. They also value quality over quantity – searching for the best option in a sea of choices. This means corporate videos targeted at older audiences need to highlight reliability and longevity of your brand or product.

For Zoomers, Video is Disposable and Effective

The youngest generations have a wildly different view of video. The idea of video has become devalued by commonality. The first feature films shot on an iPhone have already been released—so why should they expect to pay top dollar for something they can shoot themselves?

But unlike their parents and grandparents, Millennials and Gen-Z’s see video as a necessity. They want it to be cheaper because they want more of it. They understand the fleeting nature of social media and attention spans. Sometimes, younger purchasers need to be reminded that video is a tool for impact, not just a piece of content.

And this behavior isn’t a product of their own choosing. The generations above, who have been pushing video farther and wider, have created the demand. Television shows that unfolded week after week kept viewers consumed for months out of the year. Now, with streaming services, you can binge your favorite 5-season show in a couple of weeks.

Generation Z was born into the age of scrolling. TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat – these apps allow you to scroll through hundreds of stories and advertisements in mere minutes. So, while company videos are, and need to remain, meaningful and engaging, corporate video strategy targeting Gen Z relies more heavily on continuous presence via video quantity than in the older generations.

The Video Age Gap is a Two-Way Street

Video strategies need to be malleable, depending on the target audience, but corporate video producers also need to be mindful of the mindset of the client they partner with based on their cohort. Millennials might need to be reminded that Gen X still enjoys searching for deals on products, and Gen Z will eventually need reminded that email is still a viable avenue for Boomers. Though, in general, Millennials will continue to define the scope of corporate video production and consumption for the next couple decades.

And age and generation don’t just matter for those who are purchasing video for their company; it’s also an important consideration for the people making your company video. From the basic principles of filmmaking, to the tools they prefer to use, to their understanding of video in a global corporate space, demographics shape the way we consume, purchase, create, and critique video.

Sign up for The Slate: A Twice-a-Month Tip for Using Video to Achieve Your Business Goals.

“It’s one thing to understand the role of video in business communication, it’s another to know how to use video to solve actual business problems. Vern Oakley gets that.”


When you work with Tribe, you’ll get…