What are millennials interested in?

The answer? Anything - as long as it's individual and self-driven. Which kind of makes them hard to lump together.
A millennial looks intently at his smartphone. (Pixabay)

This story first aired in May 2016.

The boomers had Leave it to Beaver, Gen X'ers had Friends...TV shows that captured the zeitgeist of a generation. But is there a television program that unites millennials in the way previous generations came of age with common media? Can there be one in an age of almost limitless, on-demand choice?

In short, the answer is no.

At least, according to Sarah Lyall, a New York Times writer who spent a day travelling around New York asking millennials what their favourite TV shows were -- and how they watch them.

She discovered that in an age of immense choice when it comes to entertainment, there is no one program that brings the cohort together -- and if anything, they use TV choices as a means to highlight their individuality.

"None of them liked to watch the same thing," she says. However, they do share some traits. They don't like to pay for stuff, so none of the millennials she spoke to had cable, or HBO. They did tend to have Netflix, but shared passwords among each other to reduce the cost.

All also tended to watch television on personal devices, usually alone.

Sarah said she almost feels sad for the television producers who are trying to make content aimed at millennials. "They just don't want to be part of the herd."

You can read Sarah's story about her millennial-uniting TV quest here.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?