Who are the Unreachables?

An Unreachable is someone who cannot be tracked by current TV measurement standards because they’re accessing media from mobile or over the top devices.

We along with our partners at Omnicom Media Group, decided to conduct a large-scale survey on the Millenials and GenX populations. We wanted to see how their viewing habits are changing, particularly among younger audiences, and the effects of this uncaptured attention.

Here are some of the devices that Unreachables are using:

  • Mobile devices and tablets
  • Over-the-top (OTT) content e.g. Hulu, Netflix
  • Game consoles
  • Smart TVs
  • On-demand video e.g. Youtube

In particular, we found that Millennial and Gen X populations (MGX) make up the majority of the Unreachables demographic.

Forces of Change statistics from Unreachables.

How do Unreachables consume content?

When looking at Millennial and Gen X populations (MGX) consumer behavior, it’s clear they aren’t using TV like previous generations. Instead, they’re using OTT services and devices to view media.

Though they don’t spend much time on TV, they are still watching 30 hours of video a week. Two-thirds of this time is spent on OTT devices, so they aren’t being captured by traditional measurement rating systems.

Related post: 5 ways to track consumers across marketing channels

Reports show that 31% of Millennials and 24% of Generation X respondents say they will actually pay to stream content, compared with 15% of Baby Boomers and 6% of Silent Generation respondents.1 And if MGXs are paying for online media, they’re less likely to be paying for traditional television.

In fact, our research confirms that MGX populations are using traditional TV less and less as the years pass.

Forces of Change statistics from Unreachables.

Millennials in particular use TV less than half as much as non-Millennial populations. Instead of television, they’re using OTT video services like Hulu and Youtube twice as much.2

Why should brands care?

If Millennials and Generation Xs aren’t watching TV, a brand has less reach to influence their audience. And the less reach a brand has, the less opportunity there is to attract new customers.

MGX audiences have extremely high buying power—particularly in the larger Millennial population. There were 72 million Millennials and 66 million Gen X’s in the United States in 2017, so that makes millions of individuals unreachable using traditional marketing tools.3

Forces of Change statistics from Unreachables.

Extend your brand reach

In order to reach the Unreachables, brands need to start looking beyond traditional TV planning and measurement tools.

Here are some things you can do to reach the Unreachables using our Marketer’s Checklist:

  1. Understand consumer behaviour
    Related post: Connecting with consumers in screens of Net Attention
  2. Find the time and budget to learn how different media platforms perform for your brand
  3. Use your influence to speed up adoption of open and standardized Software Development Kits (SDKs) (See page 12 of the full report for more details)
  4. Leverage your own data for more insight into the Unreachables’ journey
  5. Look at your content through the Unreachables’ eyes

It’s up to us to keep our finger on the pulse of what’s going on and to understand the user path for how our customers find us.”
—Heidi Jessop Maund, Director of eCommerce, Natori

To learn more about how you can better reach the Unreachables, read the full Forces of Change report. You can contact us too if you would like a hand implementing these steps! We specialize in consumer behavior and leveraging data to build relationships with individuals.


  1. Nielsen. https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/reports/2016/video-on-demand.html
  2. Statista. https://www.statista.com/statistics/648620/millennials-time-spent-media-age/
  3. Statista. https://www.statista.com/statistics/797321/us-population-by-generation/