Men are more likely than women to say that the internet has replaced their need to read printed newspapers and magazines, and also are more likely to be willing to pay for a subscription to an online newspaper or for a service to watch online TV with limited ads, according to a US consumer trend study by TargetCast tcm.
But while the study (pdf) found the future of traditional media - particularly newspapers, magazines and radio - to be increasingly challenged by a rapid migration of hard-to-reach consumer groups to digital alternatives, it also revealed that internet ads are have lower overall purchase influence.
Not surprisingly, traditional media remains more influential in older age segments.
Men, Women Engage Media Differently
Among its key findings, the study discovered a divide between men and women in how each gender engages with both traditional and digital media. Overall, men generally are more willing than women to adapt their usage habits to incorporate more digital and online platforms as replacements for traditional media. In addition to increased willingness to trade in traditional newspapers, magazines and TV for digital, 34% of men - compared with just 23% of women - say radio is not as relevant to them today because there are so many other sources for music.
The Generational Divide
The study also indicated that there is a marked generational difference in attention to digital media between adults ages 18-34 and adults and those older than age 35:
- Adults ages 18-34 are more likely to have replaced newspapers and magazines with internet content, while adults older than 25 are more likely to consider magazines and newspapers as valuable sources of information.
- Adults ages 18-24 are more likely to say radio is not as relevant and that they prefer reading magazines online. This age group also indicates they don’t mind watching ads when watching TV programs online.
- Adults aged 18-34 are more likely than other consumer groups to consider advertising on the internet influential in their purchase decisions.
Hope for Traditional Media
According to TargetCast, the study reveals a “glimmer of hope for traditional mass media.” While 60% of consumers say newspapers need to change the most to stay relevant, most are nevertheless sticking with the media they’ve known for years. For example, those ages 35+ still consider newspaper ads to be more influential in determining their purchase decisions.
Additionally, more than 40% of adults ages 18-64 say they prefer the experience of reading a printed newspaper vs. online sources, and just 15% of all respondents say they would rather read magazines online. Among those ages 45+, a solid 57% prefer the experience of reading a printed magazine vs. reading a magazine online. A significant number of adults aged 18-64 (41%) also indicate radio is still relevant in their purchase decisions.
Additional study findings:
- Men are more likely than women to indicate that printed news is a less relevant source of news and information.
- Men are currently using the internet more than women to watch TV shows/videos and play games.
- Newspapers and magazines are not considered as relevant today and are easiest to eliminate from usage.
- The biggest usage declines in printed newspapers, magazines and radio are found among men and young adults ages 18-34.
- TV and internet, respectively, identified as most important media.
- Young adults 18-34 rank the internet as more important than TV .
- Men are more likely than women to indicate they would rather listen to pre-recorded music on my mP3 player than the radio.
- Respondents are more likely to disagree with the statement that printed newspapers are more trustworthy than online sources.
- 72% say that they are not willing to pay for an online newspaper subscription to replace their printed newspaper subscription, implying, TargetCast said, that people expect the news online to be free.
“More than ever, marketers must take into account the evolving media preferences of specific target audiences as they refine their approach to connecting with consumers,” said Peter Sedlarcik, SVP, director of insights and analytics at TargetCast tcm. “Yet, while many may declare print media is dead, our findings show that marketing messages in newspapers and magazines still score well in terms of consumer attentiveness and purchase influence.”
About the study: TargetCast tcm conducted the survey of 895 adults between ages 18-64, from September 1-4, 2009. The objective of the research was to gauge current and projected consumer attitudes, perceptions, and usage of mass media (magazines, newspapers, radio, TV, and the internet) relative to reported past and expected future behavior.