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Teens choose YouTube over Netflix for the first time, according to new survey

Key Points
  • Piper Jaffray found 37% of teens prefer to watch videos on YouTube, narrowly edging out Netflix, which came in at 35%.
  • YouTube's diverse content library appeals to teens, the firm said.
  • However, Netflix ranked far ahead of other streaming platforms like Hulu and Amazon Prime Video.
A teenager texting on her phone.
Twenty20

YouTube has passed Netflix as the preferred platform for watching video among teens, according to Piper Jaffray's fall 2019 survey, released Tuesday.

Piper Jaffray found 37% of teens surveyed are streaming video most often on the Google-owned platform, narrowly edging out longtime leader Netflix, which came in at 35%. The firm attributed the shift to YouTube's diversified content library, which includes a "wide array of teen-oriented content" like music videos, video game playthroughs, how-to videos and videos from social media influencers, among other things.

Netflix has had a rough couple of months, with shares falling more than 27% in the last three months. The company reported a rare subscriber miss in its earnings report for the second quarter and faces growing concerns from investors who fear it may face steep competition from the bevy of streaming services being launched from Disney, Apple, AT&T and more.

Despite Netflix ceding its pole position to YouTube, teens are flocking to it far more than other streaming services, Piper Jaffray found. Hulu and Amazon's Prime Video served as the preferred platforms for 7% and 3% of teens surveyed, respectively. Cable TV ranked third at 12%, down from 14% in the spring, indicating that cord-cutting continues to be on the rise, the firm said.

"Among the subscription services, Netflix is the leader in category that contains massive multi-year growth potential as more content viewing shifts online," Piper Jaffray analysts said. "There will be increasing competition (Disney's Disney+ and Apple's Apple TV+) and unforeseen hurdles, but we believe the market will support multiple players, with Netflix leading the way."

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