Latest NewsGen Z willing to pay for content finds Ontario Creates/VICE study

Gen Z willing to pay for content finds Ontario Creates/VICE study

Ninety per cent of those ages 14-22 – the demographic dubbed “Gen Z” – are willing to pay for content, according to a new study conducted by VICE Insights and released by Ontario Creates, the provincial agency that facilitates economic development and investment in the creative industries

“Gen Z: The Culture of Content Consumption” surveyed 500 Ontario Gen Z’ers online and an additional 150 Millennials (ages 23-39) for comparison. The survey questions were compiled following discussions with content creators on the complex challenges of capturing Gen Z’s attention.

In addition to being willing to pay for content, the survey found that Gen Z wants to see more diversity in the stories and people they see, with one in two survey respondents citing a gap in gender, sexual identity and ethnic representation in today’s cultural content.

The survey also found that Gen Z is more interested in being entertained by content than informed, and that Gen Z consumers value ease of discovery, looking to social media channels like YouTube, Instagram and TikTok to find new content and form relationships with the creators themselves.

Other key findings included:

  • Music, video streaming and video games (in all forms: console, PC and mobile) are the top paid services for Gen Z, with respondents paying for an average of four cultural content services;
  • Music is by far the #1 form of cultural content consumed by Gen Z, with online videos, TV and video games rounding out their most frequent activities;

  • 75% of respondents say original content is important to them;

  • The younger demographic are huge cord cutters: for Millennials, cable or satellite TV subscriptions are their #2 most popular paid services, while those didn’t even make the top 5 for Gen Z;

  • Gen Z is motivated by better quality (61% said so), better experience (56%) and convenience (50%) to pay for content, versus avoiding ads on free services (41%).

  • Gen Z is especially interested in internet culture/memes, humour and gaming.

“Gen Z is the most diverse generation in Canadian history and they are changing the rules of engagement with creators,” said  Karen Thorne-Stone, President & CEO of Ontario Creates, in a release. “This research will help Ontario companies adapt their business models to connect more effectively with this big new market.”

“With new voices and new platforms entering the media landscape by the minute, the competition for young people’s attention has never been greater,” said Julie Arbit, Global SVP of Insights, VICE. “Combine that with a young generation that has never been hungrier for content or more savvy about how to access it, and you have a whole new approach to content consumption. Understanding this new mindset is essential for anyone who is trying to reach this young audience.”

The study’s margin of error is +/- 3.8%.

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Connie Thiessen
Connie Thiessen
Connie has worked coast-to-coast as a reporter, editor, anchor and host at CKNW and News 1130 in Vancouver, News 95.7 and CBC in Halifax, and CFCW Edmonton, among other stations. With a passion for music, film and community service, she led News 95.7 to a 2013 Atlantic Journalism Award and regional RTDNA award for Best Radio Newscast. More recently, she was nominated for Music Journalist of the Year at Canadian Music Week 2019. To report a typo or error please email -

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