Digitally native, the millennial generation is often thought to be abandoning traditional media for digital, and especially social, alternatives. But what do we really know about them?
“Are millennials too cheap to pay for newspapers? Is social media leading to the decline of humanity? Is this generation a little too preoccupied with themselves to care about their surroundings? The following are six common myths about millennials and media, and my effort—as a millennial—to prove whether or not they’re accurate,” writes Chandler Fleming in Editor and Publisher.
Among the myths that Fleming takes issue with is the idea that millennials hate traditional media.
“Even though millennials may not be the most popular demographic with legacy news outlets (nor is it our preferred method of information), we certainly don’t hate it,” Fleming insists. “In fact, Arbitron data suggests that millennials are heightening their radio use while other generations are decreasing. Also, Scarborough Research has uncovered that more than half of the millennial population polled (about 57 percent of 200,000 participants) read either an online or print news subscription over a week period.”
And while it’s true that millennials grew up with free content, they aren’t necessarily “too cheap” to pay for content that the feel is worthy.
“Millennials are not opposed to spending money, even on traditional media, as long as they have a good reason for doing so,” Fleming notes.
So why aren’t they willing to pay for their news more often?
“The problem I, and others I’m sure, have noticed with many news publications lately is the monopolistic tendency to suck the life out of a story,” Fleming notes. This can be especially true when one story is covered incessantly by all the major outlets.
What is true is that these digital natives find it easy to communicate online, much more so than previous generations. They are technically adept to the point of obsession, which means that if you want to engage them, digitally is the way to hook their interest.
From there, print is a viable option but only if they find it highly relevant, unquestionably informative or entertaining, and well worth the price.