Gen Z's Favorite Actors and Content Creators – Morning Consult

Gen Zers are no longer a mere fascination: They now wield serious purchasing power and cultural capital as they put their imprints on the global economy. Morning Consult surveyed Americans between the ages of 13 and 25 about their media tastes and habits, relationships with brands and interest in sports in order to better understand where, exactly, the youngest adult generation is now taking us.
Read Our Gen Z Coverage: Gen Z and Sports | Favorite Pro Leagues | Favorite Athletes | Sports Influencer Q&ASocial Media Usage | Preferred Online Content | Opinion on Advertising | Movie Marketing Trends | Favorite Film Franchises | Favorite Genres | Preferred Entertainment Length | Favorite Video Games | Surprising Tidbits
No matter the device, young people are logging a ton of screen time. A new Morning Consult survey set out to determine which stars they most like to see on their screens. 
Americans between the ages of 13 and 25 were asked their opinions of 35 film actors and 35 internet content creators. Wrestler-turned-movie star Dwayne Johnson earned the highest net favorability rating (65) among the former group, and YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson, better known as MrBeast, (44) took the top spot among the latter. (Net favorability rating is the share of respondents with a favorable opinion minus the share with an unfavorable opinion.) 
While both significantly outperformed all of their tested peers, MrBeast did so by an extremely wide margin — his net favorability rating was nearly double that of the next most popular content creator, Zach King (23). Among actors, Tom Holland (58) and Johnny Depp (56) followed Johnson in a closer fashion. 
The survey also found that Gen Zers may look to further blur the lines between more traditional celebrity and internet-driven fame in the future. Half said they are interested in seeing online creators play acting roles in Hollywood movies, and 48% said the same of seeing creators in TV shows.
Traditional actors still generally have higher favorability ratings among Gen Zers than their creator counterparts, and many of them, including Johnson, Reese Witherspoon and Selena Gomez, have jumped on platforms like YouTube and TikTok to stay relevant with that audience. 
As Gen Zers continue to look for internet influences in more of the content they consume, Hollywood will likely continue to experiment with ways to include popular creators, either through direct collaboration or via a stylistic approach that caters to how Gen Z sees the world. (Think Bo Burnham’s critically acclaimed coming-of-age film “Eighth Grade,” a movie directed by a millennial about the Gen Z social experience.) 
NBCUniversal’s recently launched Creator Accelerator is an example of what this kind of intertwined media ecosystem might look like. The yearlong program pairs its cohort of 11 creators with a development mentor who will help them produce both scripted and unscripted content. 
But the crossover won’t succeed automatically. Rae’s performance in “He’s All That,” for instance, was mostly panned by critics and audiences. A creator’s popularity might be enough to get Gen Z initially interested, but in order to build the franchises that sustain modern Hollywood, content creators will have to demonstrate some actual talent.
The Nov. 2-8, 2022, survey was conducted among a representative sample of 1,000 U.S. Gen Zers between the ages of 13 and 25, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Saleah Blancaflor previously worked at Morning Consult as a data reporter covering the business of entertainment.
Ellyn Briggs is a brands analyst on the Industry Intelligence team, where she conducts research, authors analyst notes and advises brand and marketing leaders on how to apply insights to make better business decisions. Prior to joining Morning Consult, Ellyn worked as a market researcher and brand strategist in both agency and in-house settings. She graduated from American University with a bachelor’s degree in finance. For speaking opportunities and booking requests, please email [email protected].

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