The Age of a Generational Divide in Media Usage

The Age of a Generational Divide in Media Usage
Getting in tune and in touch with a generation’s media habits can help media planning professionals develop better strategies and media plans. Fortunately, the Nielsen’s new Generational Snapshot study offered important insights on the media usage and device penetration of different demographics. The generations examined in the study were Millennials who are between the ages of 18 and 34, Generation X who were aged 35 to 49, and Baby Boomers between the ages of 50 and 67. featured findings from the study to show the distinct differences and striking similarities in the media content consumption of different ages of audiences.

How Location Affects Lifestyle
According to the study, location doesn’t only map out where an audience lives; it also shows the directions of their media and content choices. In certain urban areas like Detroit and Pittsburgh, Baby Boomers make up more than one-quarter of the population in their respective regions, where they watch 184 hours per month of live or time-shifted TV. This has made TV extremely popular in these geographic areas. These findings provide important programming insight that marketers can use to develop their media plans.

And locations like Los Angeles and Denver are hubs for technology-minded Millennials who heavily use digital devices and services. As a result, these cities have the highest penetrations of tablet, smartphone, and subscription-based video-on-demand usage. That’s why marketers need to target these areas with digital-focused campaigns.

Which Media Matters to Each Market
With the steady development of new media-consumption devices in recent years, consumers have more multimedia options than ever. As a result, monthly time spent using multimedia devices has increased across all demographics. But even though they’ve been embraced by all generations, certain demographics use certain types of media much more often than others.

For instance, the study showed that gaming consoles are used by one-third of Millennials, which is three times the amount of both Generation Xers and Baby Boomers. Another example is the disparity of smartphone media usage. Millennials use smartphone apps and video three times as much as older generations.

As Millennials spend most of their time on this newer digital media, older generations use traditional media much more often than younger adults. According to the study, GenXers and Baby Boomers watch more DVR/time-shifted TV and listen to more AM/FM radio than Millennial audiences.

How Music Comes into Play with Each Generation
Music preference has long defined a generation, which made it an important element for analysis in the study. Among various music formats, pop contemporary hits were most popular with Millennials, followed by Generation Xers. Meanwhile, adult contemporary/soft adult contemporary music was favored by Baby Boomers, who spend more than four hours a week tuning into these soothing sounds. Baby Boomers also preferred the news/talk format more than all of the younger audiences.

The study’s findings on demographic media preferences can help marketers better target their media plans and reach the right audiences in the right ways.

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