Survey: The growing demographic divide between media platforms
Note: This article is based on the Variety Intelligence Platform special report “Demographic Divide,” available only to subscribers.
The digital age, once promising for established media companies, is becoming a poisoned gift.
Instead of controlling the new formats that have been adopted by consumers, many old media companies misunderstood what digital offered and are now forced to play expensive catch-up games or risk becoming obsolete for young viewers. .
The VIP+ “Demographic Division” report, produced in collaboration with a consumer insights specialist GetWizerCommenthighlights the growing need for tradition-steeped media and entertainment companies to quickly embrace the new reality.
A key factor behind this idea is the distribution of platforms used by each age group. Younger consumers are less likely to use traditional formats like cable and TV, opting instead for podcasts, social media and games alongside streaming services and TV networks.
In summary, this means that to reach young consumers, media companies need to start targeting consumers on their own terms, using social and free streaming platforms as new ways to distribute content.
The number of viewers is a case study. About one in five of 15-29 year olds say they regularly watch national or local news, compared to more than half of those over 60 who say they watch. This is one of the reasons many local stations have launched FAST channels, as have ABC, NBC, Fox and CBS for national news.
This is a good first step for news, but it shouldn’t be the only step. To maximize the total reach possible, news stations must embrace live streaming on services such as Twitch and Instagram, thereby reaching consumers on their own terms.
Radio is another medium that may need to adopt other formats to maintain its long-term health. While around half of consumers over 45 agree they enjoy listening to the radio, only a quarter of 15-29 year olds do, with younger consumers more likely to prefer streaming music services.
Building on the role that hosts play, as SiriusXM has begun to do, is one way to try to counter that. Most media has yet to embrace the generation of content creators led by YouTube and the influence it has on their audience. Creating alternative digital radio stations curated by influencers can be a way for radio stations to safeguard their future, especially if done in tandem with emerging media platforms.
The influence of YouTube and TikTok is evident when consumers are asked if they can watch all day without getting bored. It peaks at 15-29, but shows how powerful these new media are.
This is one of the reasons why VIP+ is advocating for traditional media to adopt these formats as alternatives to distribution, as this will both strengthen brand relevance among young viewers while increasing monetization opportunities.
It’s clear that consumer tastes are changing, but many traditional media have maintained the hope that as consumers age, they will revert to older formats. It’s a very risky bet, companies better work with consumer demand to avoid the risk of long-term extinction.