How Millennials Use Media
As the first generation to grow up immersed in the digital world, the millennials — the segment of the population roughly between 18 and 35 years old — have disrupted more than a few industries.
With technology an omnipresent tool in their lives, this demographic tends to have a mobile mindset, a high demand for product functionality, a desire for curated experiences, and a constant state of connection with friends, family and the greater world. These consumer behaviors — driven and reinforced by the digital age — have propelled monumental shifts in the media industry.
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Among hyperconnected millennials, mobility is key. Smartphone use among this age group has reached near saturation at 85%, and half of them own a tablet, too, according to the Pew Research Center. They use mobile devices to access the Internet “constantly” (36% of 18- to 29-year-olds) or “multiple times per day” (50%), and many rely on these tools for news and entertainment.
Millennials infrequently consume media through traditional channels. And, the time spent on smartphone-based entertainment — including music, videos and games — now reaches 40 hours per month for the youngest millennials.
With consumption habits so drastically different from those of previous generations, the media industry has been forced to overhaul production and distribution models. Enter companies such as Netflix, Hulu and Sling TV that offer on-demand, on-the-go programming. Newsrooms and broadcasters now embrace “mobile-first” strategies that prioritize the mobile-viewing experience over print, TV and even the desktop computer.
Media organizations know: Content today must be mobile-friendly and always available to meet millennials’ needs.
High User Demands
Coming of age at the same time as many amazing technologies, millennials have high expectations when it comes to using those tools. While they may remember the days of dialing into an Internet connection and waiting long minutes for websites to load, they simply do not tolerate that type of experience today.
They expect high-quality content to be served up on all platforms on demand, and they’re likely to abandon an entertainment source that doesn’t meet these standards. According to tech company Conviva, three-quarters of young adults will stop watching a digital video of poor quality in 4 minutes or less. And, if they do watch a low-quality video, they are less likely to use the service again.
In addition to video quality, media organizations need to be aware of website design and ease of use, especially for the mobile experience. Responsive design, which means content can adjust to the size of the screen, is key, as images, video, text and graphics need to be clearly viewed on any device. Optimizing the mobile experience also includes other technical elements such as load time, usability, touch-friendly display and access to sharing tools.
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