As new forms of media consumption, including web surfing, downloading and time-shifted TV viewing gain more of a foothold in the U.S., different generations have begun to form distinct habits. But what's interesting is that both the old and wise and the young at heart are developing some commonalities as well, according to a new study by Deloitte.
The consulting and advisory firm found that every generation -- from young Millennials (ages 13 to 24) to Generation X (25 to 41) to Baby Boomers (42 to 60) and older Matures (61 to 75) -- enjoys reading magazines. Almost three-fourths of all consumers choose to read them even though they can find the same information online. There is also a greater receptivity overall to print ads compared with internet ads, the firm found.
Additionally, about 51% of U.S. consumers are interested in watching and reading content created by others, not just stuff crafted by the big Hollywood companies and TV networks. Boomers and Matures are also taking part in the user-generated-content phenomenon, not just the under-25 crowd, Deloitte found.
The "fascination" with user-generated content potentially "has big impact for a media company and media clients," said Ed Moran, director-product innovation, for Deloitte Services' Technology, Media & Telecommunications group.
The study was conducted among 2,200 U.S consumers online, meaning the surveys could have a bias, since those taking part are predisposed to use technology. Deloitte intends to repeat the survey annually.
Distinctive media habits are also emerging among the different age groups. Millennials lead the way in embracing new technologies, games and entertainment platforms, with one in 10 actively uploading their own videos to the internet. While this age group is "on the forefront" of some of the media world's newest developments -- social networks, for one -- it spends less time browsing the web than Boomers or Xers.
Millennials, however, make extensive use of instant-messaging and texting tools, and the group's power to create "amplification" of messages is "enormous," according to Deloitte.
Gen Xers embrace digital video recorders more than other generations and are most likely to visit TV-show sites online.
Boomers remain very dependent on newspapers and spend the most time with local news and weather content. The group does not embrace new media platforms as readily as younger generations. Matures use the web more for personal use than Millennials and are the most frequent online purchasers. They spend the most time with national and world news content as well as financial information.
Good news for the iPhone?
Looking toward the future, Deloitte found that there appears to be significant demand for a portable, stand-alone device that consumers can use to view content as well as communicate with others. The survey found that 39% of consumers want to be able to move their media content to their own devices without any problems, and 34% want a device that will give them the ability to speak to, instant message, text and e-mail anyone. "It would seem to bode well for the iPhone and other smart phones," Mr. Moran said. "It's a strong, strong desire."