I’m of the Gen-X generation. If you don’t really know what that means, don’t worry about it. Despite the fact that MTV, Ferris Bueller and the fall of the Berlin Wall happened on our watch, marketers are almost entirely consumed by the habits of the pre- and post Gen-X generations. You may know them by their more traditional labels – Baby Boomers and Millennials. In fact, based on how much time those of us in marketing and media spend thinking and talking about boomers and millennials, the Gen-X generation is a apparently a mere footnote of demography. Yes, I’m a little annoyed about this, but I digress.
In print media organizations, especially, there’s a great deal of concern about how the media consumption habits of boomers and millennials differ. People with an axe to grind (digital, TV and radio media sellers, for example) are fond of saying that print’s audience is dying off….as if only older Americans read print. This is, of course, not the story.
The media consumption habits of millennials and boomers do differ, in some ways. But in terms of ”old” media, the differences are not all that significant. In other words, there’s no Berlin Wall separating the two largest generations of the past hundred years (just us Gen-Xers.)
Based on a recent study by Jacobs Media Strategies, these are the percentages of use (at least once per week) for each demographic:
Boomers – Radio (89%), Newspapers (86%) and TV (81%)
Millennials – Radio (80%), Newspapers (71%) and TV (72%)
Also, the Jacobs study reports that tablet, text and Smartphone usage are not all that different between these two groups.
Of course, the spread (15%) between boomers and millennials, for newspaper usage, is widest but it’s not that much different than radio and TV. My point is that the media habits of younger Americans and older Americans, on a macro level, are not that different and it’s untrue that newspaper readers are simply dying off.
But if you’re determined to claim that millennials are so different than the generations that have come before them, I will offer that in terms of podcasts, streaming video, streaming audio and social networks, millennials do use these media by a wide margin over boomers. However, it’s probably just a matter of time before boomers adopt more millennial-like media habits, with regard to these newer technologies. The rapid adoption of Smartphones and tablets among boomers, shows that sometimes old dogs can learn new tricks.
Post by Jim Jinks