To shed light on how different generations are “consuming” media — and what their future media preferences are likely to be — Deloitte & Touche USA LLP’s Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) practice commissioned an extensive survey on the evolving role of media in America. This State of the Media Democracy survey offers a generational reality check on the usage of current media platforms/devices and what the future may hold.
Millennials are leading the way, embracing new technologies, games, entertainment platforms, user-generated content and communication tools — creating a “trickle up” effect where the older generations are learning from them. The survey found that despite their eagerness to embrace new media, Millennials have an affinity for “traditional” media, such as print publications and television. Almost 6 in 10 survey respondents (58 percent) say they use magazines to find out about what's "cool and hip," such as clothes, cars and music. Perhaps more important, almost three-quarters (71 percent) enjoy reading print magazines even though they know they could find most of the same information online.
When Millennials find something they like, they broadcast it, and the power of their amplification is extensive. The Millennials surveyed maintain large instant messaging (IM) and texting lists that average 37 people, compared with just 17 for the entire sample.And when they find a particular television show or Web site they enjoy, they tell an average of 18 people, compared with only 10 people for all age groups. According to the survey, word of mouth is the most common reason for Millennials to visit a Web site, followed by an ad on television. Almost half (48 percent) visit television Web sites in a typical week.
Generations Xers enjoyed the explosion of new entertainment in their youth and continue to embrace entertainment today. They are the most interested in general lifestyle/personal interest information, including celebrity and entertainment news. They are also most likely to be visiting television show Internet sites.
Baby Boomers are in their peak earning years and are entering their empty nesting life stage — retirement is still a few years away but certainly on their radar screens. Boomers are still very dependent on newspapers and spend the most time with local news and weather content. They do spend a lot of time on the Internet, but do not match the younger generations as far as embracing the new media platforms. Across many measures, Boomers seem to split the attitudinal and behavioral differences between Xers and the Matures.
The Matures spend the most time with national and world news content, as well as financial information. Not surprisingly, Matures are the most likely to embrace print media. However, there is a significant percentage of Matures embracing electronic media, as well as participating in electronic forms of communication and user-generated content. A significant minority of Matures also participate in:
- Gaming and user-generated content
- IM and texting
- Meeting new friends over the Internet