Media Consumption Across Generations

Optimize your brand’s connection with consumers across generations by understanding where they consume media content, and why they’re going there to do so. Keep reading for key insights and a downloadable deck on social media, visual entertainment, and audio streaming.

Media is a major aspect of consumers’ everyday lives. Americans spend a significant amount of their time and attention consuming social media, visual entertainment, and audio streaming content. For brands and advertisers across industries to succeed, they need to understand where people are going to consume media content, and why they’re going there.

  • Are they following specific topics?
  • Are they following influencers?
  • Are they looking for products to purchase?
  • Are they just killing time?
  • Is it device dependent?
  • Does it depend on the race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender of the characters or hosts?

Collage Group’s 2021 Media Study answers these questions by providing granular insights across generations. Our research reveals the specific platforms American media users go to, and what they’re using them for. The data dives deep into content and platform drivers—spanning categories, passion points, and identity attributes.

Fill out the form to download an excerpt of our Media Consumption Across Generations presentation. Read below for key insights. 

Social Media

Key Insight: Influencers drive younger generations to social media just as much as keeping up with friends and family.

This is paramount to understanding Gen Z and Millennial behavior online. For instance, these generations tend to be much more commerce-focused on social media. This also unlocks insight on why specific sites are used. Instagram is the favored platform for keeping up with influencers, much more so than it’s being used to follow real life connections, like friends and family.

Gen Z Media Consumption Chart

Visual Media

Key Insight: “Single-show sign-ups” explain why younger generations, particularly Millennials, use so many platforms.

Gen Z and Millennials are especially particular about the content they consume. They know what they want, and they’ll go to greater lengths to get it. Even if it means subscribing to an entire streaming service just for one show. Movies and shows are a strong passion point for these generations, and their desire to be in-the-know on pop culture accelerates this behavior.

Streaming Service Subscription Chart

Audio Media

Key Insight: Millennials (the most enthusiastic podcast listeners) are busy with careers and kids, so they tune in while doing other tasks.

Almost three-quarters of Millennials listen to podcasts and radio shows while driving, studying, working, or doing chores. For them, it’s a way to use their time efficiently while also carving out some “me time” to listen to shows they like. In the car, AM/FM radio remains most common, with Spotify a strong runner-up. While multitasking generally, Millennials use a variety of platforms. Additions to their audio streaming repertoire include social media sites like YouTube and Pandora.

Audio Media Platform Preference Chart

Find the full set of research includes category-specific data across generations, as well as race, ethnicity, sexuality and gender, and searchable data on our Instant Insights tool–all available to members of Collage Group cultural intelligence platforms.

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