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Digital media activities vary according to the age group of the generation


PARIS, FRANCE – MARCH 13: A Deloitte report finds that video games are the most popular entertainment … [+] Activity for Generation Z, watching TV and movies for older age groups. (Photo by Chesnot / Getty Images)

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Last month Deloitte published its 15th annual Digital Media Trends Report. The report is based on the online responses from 2,009 U.S. consumers that took place in February 2021. The responses were weighted to reflect the population. As in previous surveys, Deloitte divided respondents into age groups or “generations”.

Generation Z (born between 1997 & 2007)

Millennials (born between 1983 and 1996)

Generation X (born between 1966 and 1982)

Baby boomers (born between 1947 and 1965)

Matures (born before 1947)

Popular media activities: The report focused on the number of entertainment options that consumers now have access to. These include social media, video streaming, music streaming and video games. Deloitte found that 84% of respondents use social media. In addition, 82% subscribe to a paid video service (with an average of four subscriptions) and 55% use an ad-supported streaming video service.

Deloitte reported that 78% rate themselves as frequent or occasional video gamers and 45% subscribe to a video game service, with an average of three subscriptions. The survey also found that 62% of respondents use an ad-supported music streaming provider, with the average number of subscriptions being two. In addition, 60% have a paid subscription to the streaming music service.

Watch TV / Movies: Despite the growing number of options, watching TV / movies at home is still one of the most popular entertainment activities. A total of 57% of respondents said it was one of their three (out of 16) favorite entertainment activities. Among baby boomers (39%), Generation X (29%) and even among millennials (18%). However, with Generation Z, only 10% saw watching TV / movies as their favorite entertainment activity, which was below video games (26%), listening to music (14%), internet browsing (12%), and social media (11%). Additionally, 46% of Gen Z reported that playing video games has lost other sources of entertainment.

Price & content: As the number of subscription video services available grows, price and content are the most important factors. As mentioned earlier, 55% of respondents said they were watching a free (or at a lower price) ad-supported streaming video provider. The survey found that 46% of respondents would subscribe to a new video streaming provider if the cost was low enough. Additionally, 26% said they would subscribe to a service if they offered a free trial or a discounted price. Most respondents (60%) said they would accept advertising at a lower monthly rate, while 40% of consumers would be willing to pay $ 12 a month for an ad-free video service.

Another factor that will determine whether a streaming video subscriber would cancel is content. 31% responded that they would cancel or stop using their streaming video provider if the content they liked was removed. Also, 31% said they would look for another streaming video service that offers content they like.

Keeping subscription costs low while delivering high quality content is a challenge. The cost of producing original programming and acquiring the rights to licensed content and sports continues to increase in a competitive marketplace. For example, Amazon AMZN is expected to pay $ 465 million for the first season of Lord of the Rings. When it launched HBO Max in 2020, AT&T T said they were committed to spending $ 4 billion on HBO Max over the first three years. Similarly, Comcast CMCSA announced it would invest $ 2 billion in content on Peacock in its first two years. (In 2020, Peacock lost a reported $ 914 million.)

Aside from their favorite content disappearing, other frustrations mentioned by streaming video users subscribe to multiple providers to watch their favorite content. Other annoyances include trying to navigate content across multiple streaming video providers (52%) and not having good recommendations (49%). Deloitte reported that the churn rate remained around 37% from October 2020 to February 2021.

Pricing and content were also issues with streaming music and video game subscribers. The survey found that 37% would cancel a streaming music subscription and 38% would cancel their video game subscription because of a price increase. Additionally, 29% would cancel their streaming music subscription if content they liked was removed, and 22% would do the same with a video game service.

Social media: Social media has become a major source of music, video entertainment, games, and news. While the use of social media is widespread, the way in which it is accessed varies by generation. For example, the two most common activities of Generation Z were listening to music, followed by video games. Listening to music and watching TV shows / movies were the most popular among millennials. For Generation X, consuming the news was the most popular activity.

Social media has become an important source of news, especially among younger age groups. For Gen Z, 50% said their preferred source of news and current events was social media, compared to 12% for TV news (broadcast and cable). For comparison, among baby boomers, only 8% went for news on social media and 58% went for news over broadcast / cable.

Other respondents’ comments on social media found:

· 67% don’t trust the news on these sites.

45% would pay for social media if they didn’t collect their data.

· 77% believe that the government should regulate personal data.

While a majority of Generation Z (62%) and Millennials (72%) prefer personalized advertising messages, on social media platforms only 40% of consumers said they would be willing to share personal information in order to receive more relevant advertising messages.

Advertising: Advertising is the financial basis of many digital media. In the second half of 2020, it was digital media, led by search, social and streaming videos, that sparked the ad marketplace’s comeback. The lower funnel traits like purchase intent, brand conversion, and ROI are popular digital media attributes. The income from marketers has turned Google, Facebook and now Amazon into advertising powerhouses. However, not all consumers want advertising. For example, Deloitte found that 48% of Generation Z and 46% of Millennials would prefer to pay for a streaming video provider to avoid ads.

For streaming music services, the preference for no advertising is even stronger. The survey found that 45% of all respondents and 67% of millennials would rather subscribe to a music streaming service. Additionally, 61% of streaming music users say they don’t pay attention when ads are played. Likewise, 49% of all video game players would prefer to subscribe to a service with no ads.

Generation Z: Another topic that Deloitte addressed was the different media consumption of Generation Z (ages 14 to 24) compared to older age groups. Generation Z grew up in an era of social media, instant messaging, video games, and streaming content. This age group avoided TV / movies for streaming music and video games. “Gen Z” can also be considered an early adopter and has even influenced the media selection of older age groups.

As options increase, media and entertainment providers should become familiar with the fluid entertainment habits of Generation Z in the years to come and create events that appeal to them. Advertisers pay a premium to reach this target audience. Media decisions are influenced by their media habits as they get older.


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