Netflix, YouTube, and Lady Gaga: 10 Fascinating Entertainment Trends Among LGBTQ Consumers

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Lady Gaga stands with her arms pumped, in a rainbow jacket, at Stonewall Day 2020 in New York City, sponsored by GLAAD.

From Kate McKinnon’s moving speech to Ellen DeGeneres at the Golden Globes, to this week’s incredible array of LGBTQ Grammy Winners, this awards season has possibly been the gayest in history. And it’s not even over. 

With all of these awards and entertainment on the mind, I thought it would be interesting to delve into some general media and entertainment trends among LGBTQ consumers; relevant both in and outside of awards season.

All research below comes from National data from our partner, CivicScience, unless otherwise stated.

LGBTQ consumers primarily watch TV online

Among US Adults, roughly 33% primarily watch TV online, whereas most (39%) watch live. However, among LGBTQ Adults, 48% primarily watch TV online, while only 27% primarily watch live.

A bar graph showing that 48% of LGBTQ adults primarily watch TV online, while only 33% of the General Population says the same.

One of many possible explanations is that even though mainstream TV shows and media are furthering LGBTQ visibility and storylines, there’s still a greater set of LGBTQ-specific programming online. Netflix has a dedicated LGBTQ section, for example, and hosts shows like Queer Eye, Tales of the City, and more. Hulu also has made strides when it comes to LGBTQ programming, and aside from these, many LGBTQ content creators have created beautiful stories and series on other platforms like YouTube.

Another reason, of course, is that the LGBTQ community leans younger due to greater acceptance in recent years, and as we know, younger folks are more likely to stream and adopt newer technology trends.

YouTube is a hit, but will it stay that way?

32% of US Adults visit YouTube daily, but that number rises to 42% among LGBTQ Adults. That said, there was a small drop in daily LGBTQ YouTube users (46% to 42%) in Q4, whereas there was growth in daily users the Quarter before that.

Perhaps this has to do with the controversy surrounding YouTube’s hosting of anti-LGBTQ content on its platform, or the company’s demonetization of various LGBTQ content. Perhaps it’s because LGBTQ content that was once confined to self-publishing platforms such as YouTube can now be found on larger or more mainstream platforms.

Over the next few months, it will be interesting to see if this trend continues, or if this decline was just a slight bump in an otherwise consistent relationship with LGBTQ consumers.

LGBTQ Adults are 33% more likely to go to the movies once a month or more

As the stay-at-home economy and streaming services continue to grow, theater attendance has declined. Naturally, this has created a tough obstacle for the entertainment industry, as films try to captivate audiences and drive viewership.

Only 15% of US Adults say that they go to the movies at least once a month or more, but 20% of LGBTQ adults self-report going to the movies at the same ratea total difference of roughly 33%. In addition, 22% of LGBTQ adults say they would prefer to see a movie in theatres rather than at home, which is higher than the General Population.

Since LGBTQ folks already head to the movies more often, it would be wise to keep them in mind for film promotions – whether LGBTQ-specific or not.

Take The Good Liar, for example. This recent film, starring legendary actors Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen (who is openly gay), isn’t inherently queer, but the film’s theme, characters, and cast struck a strong chord with the LGBTQ community.

That’s why we partnered with the film surrounding its release, and produced a custom Two Truths & A Lie contest, in addition to an LGBTQ-specific premiere of the film in Los Angeles.

What type of movies do LGBTQ consumers prefer?

Unlike other psychographics where LGBTQ and GenPop can differ drastically, it seems that movie preferences among both are roughly the same.

Out of 5 movie genres (action, comedy, drama, horror, thriller, and an option to select other or none), comedies reign supreme among both the General Population and LGBTQ Adults (31% and 30%, respectively). Action movies take second place among both groups, though it’s interesting to note that the gap in favorability between comedies and action movies is larger among the LGBTQ community (30% vs. 21%) than among the General Population (31% vs. 26%). Dramas come in third place, with horrors and thrillers lagging behind.

So, if you think the LGBTQ community isn’t interested in action movies…think again. You can market all types of films to LGBTQ people.

Now, pivoting to TV….

TV Dramas & Sitcoms Are on the Rise

From Q3 2019 to Q4 2019, the percentage of LGBTQ adults who say they watch TV dramas rose from 59% to 65%. 

A timeview graph showing that the percentage of LGBTQ adults who watch TV dramas increased from 59% to 65% over the last fiscal Quarter.

Over the same time period, there was also a rise in those who say they watch TV sitcoms each week.

This could be good news for upcoming dramas and sitcoms, especially those with strong LGBTQ storylines, such as Katy Keene on the CW (which we’re proud to have as a sponsor of the Queerties!).

NBC picks up steam among LGBTQ TV viewers, while FOX declines

Over the same time period (Q3 to Q4 2019), the percentage of LGBTQ Adults (excluding those who rarely watch TV at all) who say they watch NBC most out of all of the broadcast news networks rose from 21% to 26%. Those who say they primarily watch FOX (not FOX news, but FOX) dropped from 17% to 11%.

ABC saw a slight increase in tune-in among LGBTQ viewers, while CBS remained steady around 15%.

LGBTQ consumers over-index for Hulu, Netflix & Amazon Prime usage.

66% of LGBTQ Adults subscribe to Netflix (though 72% say they use Netflix – presumably factoring in shared accounts), vs. 57% of the General Population.

A similar trend holds true for Hulu, with 36% of LGBTQ Adults subscribing, compared to only 25% of the General Population.

A graph showing that 66% of LGBTQ adults subscribe to Netflix, 37% to Hulu and 45% to Amazon Prime.

LGBTQ entertainment habits are heavily influenced by social media

50% of LGBTQ Adults say that social media influences the movies and TV they watch, whereas only 39% of the General Population says the same.

A bar graph showing that the percentage of LGBTQ adults who are influenced by social media when it comes to the TV and entertainment they watch is 50%, whereas that's 39% among the General US Population.

On that note, from Q3 to Q4 2019, the percentage of LGBTQ Adults who say they never use social media dropped from 21% to 16%. The percentage who say they spend 2-4 hours daily on social media increased by the exact same percentage.

As previously mentioned, the LGBTQ community tends to lean younger, which is one reason for these higher numbers around social media usage and influence.

LGBTQ media continues going strong

The latest report published by CMI shows the continued strength of LGBTQ media.

Here are some very telling stats:

  • 28% of LGBTQ Adults have increased their interaction with LGBTQ news websites and apps over the past year, and roughly the same number have increased their interaction with LGBTQ entertainment websites and apps.
  • When reading LGBTQ news stories, 42% of LGBTQ Adults trust LGBTQ news sources most.
  • 41% of LGBTQ Adults say they are most impacted when companies advertise in LGBTQ media. 24% think the affect of advertising in LGBTQ media and mainstream media is equal, and 21% are most impacted by mainstream media. 12% say neither has an impact.
  • LGBTQ Adults are 72% more likely to make a purchase when a company advertises in LGBTQ media.

And just for fun…

Although many of the top celebrities in the US are adored by both straight and gay fans, alike, when digging through research I noticed some entertaining differences. I was curious to see which celebrities the General Population loves most, which the LGBTQ community loves most, and where the largest differences lie.

Out of roughly 100 celebrities, here are those that over-index most among the LGBTQ Community.

1. Justin Bieber

2. Miley Cyrus

3. Nicki Minaj

4. Kristen Stewart

5. Lady Gaga


If you’re interested in learning more about the LGBTQ market and other entertainment trends, let’s chat!

Lastly, with the Queerties coming up so soon, take a look at the video below from last year – and start getting excited! This annual awards program, which just opened for voting, recognizes the best in LGBTQ media and entertainment. At this year’s February 25th event, we are excited to present a distinguished award to Kathy Griffin, and we’ll be hosting a special performance by the incredible lesbian pop-trio, MUNA.  

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LGBTQ consumers are highly loyal to supportive brands. Navigating this dynamic space takes expertise, and we’re here to help. Using both our heads and our hearts, we create meaningful touchpoints and a true relationship between you and the LGBTQ community.