Millennials prefer new media over the TV and radio

28 January 2016 4 min. read

While millennials spend around as much time as the older generations consuming media, the kinds of media consumed is changing, a recent L.E.K. Consulting report finds. The radio and traditional TV are being replaced by on demand services, while video games and social media are taking time away from other mediums. Across the millennial generation, not a great deal changes as they move through life stages, highlighting that traditional media players need to change their strategy or risk losing market share for good.

L.E.K. Consulting recently surveyed 1,308 millennials (people aged 16-34 in 2015) and 685 non-millennials about their media consumption habits. The report, titled ‘The Perennial Millennial’, covers six life stages, from living at home with parents, to flat-sharing after being a student, through to starting a family. The research highlights that modes of media consumption among millennials are changing rapidly relative to that of older generations, and that they stay relatively stable across the various life stages of this age group.

Media consumption between non-millennials and millennials

Different generations
According to the report, millennials have somewhat different behaviour than that of their parents’ generation regarding the kinds of media to which they tune in. The older generation spends approximately 20 hours per week watching traditional TV offerings, and 10 hours per week listening to the radio. Print media holds around 4 hours of entertainment value for the older generation, while the internet around 10 hours. In total the non-millennials UK respondents surveyed spend 56 hours per week consuming media.

Millennials on the other hand spend considerably less time watching TV, at slightly more than half of that of the non-millennials. Radio too has a significantly lower rate of consumption than that of the older generation, at around 4 hours. Media types such as free-online video, subscription video and music streaming/download, almost unused by the older generation, take up significant attention spans of the millennials. Social media and video gaming are also considerably more pronounced for the group relative to the older generation. In total the millennial UK respondents surveyed spend 54 hours per week consuming media types.

New media
The report highlights that the level of new media consumption is far higher for millennials, at around two thirds of the total, than that of non-millennials, around one third. Particularly consumption of online video services (11 vs. 5 hours per week) and social media (7 vs. 3 hours per week) are divergent. The change in behaviour suggests that as the demographics shift further towards millennial and later generations, considerable changes will come to affect the industry.

Millennials by life-stage

Millennials by life-stage
In terms of life-stage, differences among millennial entertainment consumption are not that significant. Flat-sharers and young families (older than 25 year) consume the least media at around 51 hours per week, while students and young families (younger than 25 year) consume the most at 58 hours and 59 hours respectively. In terms of proportion of new media consumptions, students are by far the heaviest users, at more than 75%, while slightly under two thirds for the young families younger than 25.

Martin Pilkington, Head of L.E.K.'s European Media, Entertainment and Technology practice, comments: “Our research has shattered the common assumption that once millennials are older and have their own children they revert to more traditional media consumption patterns. […] Our research findings are a wake-up call to the traditional media players that the change in consumption habits is coming faster and is far more pervasive than they might have thought. Many organisations will need to adapt more rapidly to this fast-emerging new competitive environment.”

Household penetration of subscription OTT video services

New media
According to the report, new broadcasting brands are rated far more highly by millennials than traditional industry brands. Amongst the millennial generation, brands such as Google, YouTube, Amazon and Netflix have twice the affinity rating of even the strongest traditional TV brands. Amazon stands out as the only new media brand that maintains this high affinity across both millennial and non-millennial age cohorts.

Pilkington concludes: “This new environment will be become tougher for traditional media companies to monetise as the internet brands muscle in more and more. One response by the pay TV players has been to launch cheaper ‘slim bundles’ to attract and hold on to subscribers. However, there needs to be far further and faster innovation to develop propositions that capture the interest and behaviour patterns of the millennial generation.”