At MagellanTV we love documentaries, but does the American public share our passion? To find out we asked 1,027 American men and women about their documentary consumption patterns. We see striking answers about how viewers relate to them- especially among Millennials and young women.
News sources have proliferated. Not only in number, but also in the diversity of viewpoints and degree of credibility. And yet, the technological revolution that has made this possible has also increased the accessibility of documentary movies and series. A surprising number of Americans are now turning to documentaries, and our data shows they are getting something back.
The 24 Hour News Cycle Obsession
Americans consume large amounts of information and commentary on the events of the day. From our social media feeds to 24 hour news programing, there’s always something to read, watch, or listen to.
Most respondents spend most of their viewing time watching the news- far more than all others, including fictional drama. But here’s the rub- only 15 percent of respondents reported that news programming is good for their emotional/ mental health.
“Disillusioned News Watchers” turn to Documentaries
Our finding that viewers consider Documentaries good for mental health is line with previous research. A recent University of Berkeley, CA found nature documentaries reduce stress and improve mental health, so it’s no surprise that our Nature and Earth playlist, Stunning Visuals, is trending.
But this is not the only trend our survey revealed. Respondents reported documentaries gave them something beyond emotional / mental health- something more elusive in our 24 hour news cycle: social credibility.
Growing Importance of Documentaries as Social Credibility
Interestingly, 70 percent of respondents reported sharing something learned in a documentary while talking with others. And 44 percent of respondents go further, reporting that documentaries have inspired change in their lives – an impressive finding considering only 15 percent report spending most of their time watching documentaries.
But there’s more to this story, a whole generation more.
Our survey revealed Millennials (specifically age 25-34) use documentaries to shape their worldview. Only 40 percent of non-Millennial respondents were inspired to change their lives based on a documentary; but for Millennials, this number jumps to 57 percent.
The trend doesn’t stop there. Overall, only 39 percent of non-Millennial respondents report using a documentary successfully as evidence or proof to persuade someone. But segment again to Millennials, and the number rockets 51 percent. Bottom line: Millennials appear to be more willing to accept documentary evidence when shaping their worldview.
Report Continued Below
(Click Infographic To Enlarge)