Young consumers today are less inclined than previous generations to pick up a newspaper, tune into radio news or even turn on the TV. Replacing these traditional forms of media are the ubiquitous smart phones that let people scroll through, stream and watch the news. As trends evolves, changes like these are being felt throughout the media world. The impact of these changes is immense, since these young adults will be the future consumers of all media. Here are six ways that millennials are redefining news media:
- Print media is declining
In 2015, weekday circulation for U.S. newspapers fell 7 percent and Sunday circulation fell 4 percent, marking the largest decline since 2010. Newsroom employment also fell 10 percent, an indicator of the profound changes taking place in the gathering and reporting of the news. Despite the fact that millennials are not reading newspapers as much as their parents or grandparents did, they still have news at their fingertips 24/7. For those who get at least some of their news from traditional, respected news outlets, most are accessing even these sources on their cell phones through apps and social media.
- Local TV is losing viewers
With only 37 percent of millennials relying on local TV stations for their news, many cable channels are boosting their online and social media presence to stay relevant to this key demographic. Most news stations now have websites where top stories are shared as they occur. Twitter is becoming an important channel for news updates with its “Moments” feature.
- Social media is the top news source
With more outlets shaping their content for likes, shares and retweets, millennials are now flocking to social media channels to get the latest news. In a recent study, 88 percent of millennials get their news through Facebook and 33 percent report getting it from Twitter. This makes it more important than ever for outlets to constantly update their news feeds and share content as it happens.
- Live streaming
Periscope and Facebook are at the forefront of livestreaming content, allowing users to share live videos. Without the need for a TV or computer, consumers can now find out what is happening as they scroll down their phone screens, wherever they happen to be. This new trend weakens the role of reporters and make it harder than ever for them to be relevant.
- They aren’t just receiving information, they are interacting with it too
As digital media assumes an ever-stronger role in how people are informed, comment sections and sharing options are turning readers into media commentators, supplanting, to a certain extent, traditional, better-informed pundits. Instead of visiting multiple news pages, some millennials source their news from the people they follow. These can be their own friends as well as influencers and reporters. When information is shared, so are the opinions – well or poorly informed – of the commenters.
- Information comes directly from the source
Celebrities, politicians and other top influencers know very well the importance of these new information channels, and many are using them to communicate with this important segment. Gone are the days of having to wait until an outlet “breaks” a story. Now millennials just check their Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat accounts to see what their favorite influencer has to say about trending news.
As marketers, what do all these changes mean and how can we fit our brands into these conversations? First, it’s important to understand the importance of staying up to date on these evolving changes. Second, it means recruiting the right teams of communications professionals to ensure your message is being transmitted effectively. Not all these changes are bad for marketers – in fact, they may often be helpful. The important thing is to keep adapting to these changes as they develop.