Media continues to be a generations game


In the ever-evolving landscape of media, understanding how different generations consume content is crucial. Deloitte's report on Digital Media Trends 2023 sheds light on these generational disparities, highlighting a clear shift towards online experiences among younger audiences. This trend presents both challenges and opportunities for businesses, as they grapple with how to reach and engage customers across the generational divide and here are the top findings. 

Media continues to be a generations game

The value placed on online experiences varies significantly across generations 

Half of Gen Z and Millennials (Gen Y) believe that online experiences are a meaningful substitute for in-person experiences. Look at Gen Z and Boomers, and that figure falls to just 19%. This holds huge lessons for those designing events and conferences as more Gen Z-ers join the workforce. 

Older generations are more likely to immerse themselves in TV—but they don’t look for a community there 

Older generations are more likely to watch TV for enjoyment, where younger generations spread themselves over more services. However, nearly half of older generations feel ‘most connected to a community’ when doing something other than online activities. By contrast, 90% of younger people feel most connected to a community when online in some way.  

Millennials show some very distinct behaviour around subscriptions to streaming services 

Millennials are more likely to cancel subscriptions, but also resubscribe later. They are also most likely to have cancelled a subscription to save money. This suggests that as a generation, they may be feeling economic pressure. This may be linked to life changes such as starting families, because many in this generation are now reaching their thirties and forties. 

Both Millennials and Gen Z chase content, causing ‘churn and return’ 

On face value, you might say that Millennials and Gen Z are fickle. They are most likely to cancel a subscription to a streaming service—but also more likely to return to the same service within six months. A better interpretation is that they are chasing content: subscribing to watch particular shows, and then unsubscribing when they’re done—until the next show comes along. 

Gen Z and Millennials are moving from streaming to user-generated content 

Half of Gen Z and Millennials prefer user-generated content to video streaming services. The main reasons for this are that the content is free and convenient, there is always something new to watch, and the videos match their interests.  

Younger generations of gamers are more likely to look for immersive experiences in games 

Around three-quarters of Millennial and Gen Z gamers report feeling immersed in games, and that gaming boosts their self-confidence. This compares with just over a third of older generations. Gen Z and Millennials are also more likely to see avatars as a form of self-expression, and gaming as a way to improve their self-image. 

Video games can be an important way to stay connected, especially for committed gamers 

For committed gamers—those who play for more than five hours a week—gaming is an important way to stay connected. Meeting up with friends in video games is a way to spend time together. This is far less the case for casual gamers. There is also a gender and generational split here, with casual gamers tending to be older and female. 

Social persuasion is a valuable tool 

Younger people in particular are far more likely to buy something after seeing it reviewed by a content creator that they already trust. They are also more likely to watch a TV show or movie after seeing something about it on social media. They tend to discover music via user-generated content too, rather than via a music streaming service.   

The findings from Deloitte's report paint a clear picture: the media landscape is undergoing a significant transformation driven by generational preferences. As younger audiences prioritize immersive and interactive experiences, media companies must adapt their strategies to remain relevant. This includes exploring new content formats, fostering creator communities, and building platforms that foster connection and social interaction. 

Many organizations are transforming their Martech & Adtech ecosystems, connecting them to generate hyper-personalized ads. The competition has already started, are you ready to play in the same league?

Do you see a similar shift in how you consume media?  What kind of immersive experiences resonate most with you? Share your thoughts with us. 


About Author

Felipe Nonato

Principal Business Solutions Manager

With over two decades of experience in the technology field across various industry sectors, I have honed my skills in project management, team leadership, sales & pre-sales initiatives, and consultancy. My career in SAS has provided me with the opportunity to work in multiple countries/regions such as: Brazil, Chile, Perú, Central America and now EMEA. This, I believe, gave me what I consider one of my biggest assets: a multi-regional perspective in approach and communication with various languages and cultures.

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