With all of the rapid changes occurring in the media world today, it’s hard to know just what kind of impact they’re having on the media usage patterns of consumers. Now a just-released report by TargetCast Total Communications Media based on a September ’09 survey of ~900 American adults age 18-64 is providing some interesting clues as to what’s going on out there.
The report provides a host of interesting statistical figures, but I find a couple broad conclusions from the report more interesting:
Men and women are consuming media differently. Men are more likely to adapt their usage habits to incorporate more digital and online platforms, while women are more apt to stick with traditional media forms.
Radio, which surprised many by successfully surviving the challenges of broadcast TV in the 1940s, cable in the 1970s and the Internet in the 1990s, may finally have met its match. As a “passive” media, it’s being tuned out in large degree by a younger generation of people far more attracted to programmable MP3 players, iPods and interactive multimedia devices.
Newspapers continue to be respected for their role in covering major news events, but they’re losing ground in the face of increasing digital and mobile news media use. What’s more, nearly three-fourths of the respondents in the survey expect their online news to be available for free. (Rupert Murdoch, are you listening?)
So overall, what media has become less popular with consumers? Answer: Newspapers and magazines, with around one-third of the TargetCast TCM survey respondents indicating they’re using these media less than one year ago. Conversely, ~40% reported higher usage of the Internet for informational purposes … and ~28% higher Internet usage for entertainment.
These findings help explain why print magazine advertising is still in the doldrums. In fact, Media Industry Newsletter reports that November 2009 ad pages are down nearly 20% from November 2008. This comes as a surprise for some people because the full brunt of the economic crisis had already hit the media by November of last year. But instead of showing flat performance or maybe even a slight rise in ad pages, the numbers tanked yet again this year – making the two-year drop-off between 2007 and 2009 a whopping 35%.
Sure, some of the blame for the sorry ad numbers can go to the continuing economic downturn. But the rest is due to the fundamental change in media consumption habits that are continuing to happen – as cleanly illustrated in the TargetCast TCM report.