The Millennial Generation has been engrossed by the inundation of media and are products of an environment where media companies create and reinforce the content it deems best for the consumers of media. With the arguable exception of Disney’s ABC Family network, media conglomerates are not creating programs quickly enough which suit the tastes of the Millennials.
The inclination of Millennials to create and disseminate user generated content via social media has produced considerable competition for the attention of media conglomerates’ audiences and developed into a legitimate force to be reckoned with by the media giants. Millennials’ use of the Internet transformed this medium into a two-way conduit where consumers can easily and inexpensively produce their own content. Subsequently this has substantially fragmented the audiences which were once dominated by media conglomerates.
YouTube continues to celebrate anniversaries as an Internet channel so the genie has been out of the bottle for years now. Giant media companies are truly in danger that Millennials may completely ignore their traditional program offerings in favor of more relevant content created by other Millennials, or by innovative new companies who are more in tune with what this demographic finds interesting. Young Americans in high school and college are bringing about a transfer of power, shifting control within the industry of mass media by creating their own content.
The Millennial Generation is expected to have a tremendous impact on the media business over the years ahead. Millennials very strong propensity to continually multitask has turned the television into a device for creating background ambience while using the Internet. This is in stark contrast to the way their parents and grandparents regarded their TVs as major appliances worthy of the important role of serving the household’s primary needs for providing news and entertainment. In addition, Millennials strive for continuous connectivity via their social networks.
Way back when, television overtook radio as America’s dominant electronic media format. This is consistent with the functional displacement theory which hypothesizes that one medium will be overtaken, or ‘displaced’ by another medium. For instance, one might hypothesize with the ongoing rise of Internet usage; the Internet might displace other traditional media, mainly television. Declining radio listenership is consistent with a functional displacement theory. That is, as music obtained over the Internet, (legally or illegally), and listened to via portable digital audio players, or via streaming Internet music stations like Pandora is usurping broadcast radio. However, the decline in TV viewing is not consistent with the functional displacement theory, as Millennials frequently consume media via television and the Internet simultaneously. Nevertheless, Millennials’ strong proclivity for multitasking between several forms of media simultaneously has resulted in their consumption of television to be an increasingly passive activity; and they are more fully engaged in the media they are obtaining via the Internet.
The Millennial Generation in the United States has 10 million more people than the Baby Boom Generation. With the oldest Baby Boomers pushing 70 years of age, this decade will in large part be shaped by this enormous group of young people. Millennials’ ongoing connection to the Internet, the multitasking behavior they demonstrate regarding media consumption, combined with their ‘social bubble existence’ has diminished the value of a single media platform approach for marketers. Because of these young people’s deeply rooted yearning to connect, social media has created an enduring change in the way they interrelate.
Media conglomerates are already feeling the economic impact of the resulting audience fragmentation. There are cultural ramifications as well, as affordable ubiquitous Internet connectivity is dissolving the boundaries between the affluent and the less fortunate; and the Internet has leveled the playing field regarding the ability to instantly access information.
Information is Power
A shift in power is coming like a tidal wave.
Considering the rapid pace of media convergence, it is crucial for companies to gain a much better understanding about behavior Millennials are demonstrating as it pertains to their consumption of mass media and their use of the Internet. A thorough understanding of Millennials’ usage patterns of this all-encompassing medium and its affect on society is imperative for media companies, marketing executives, content producers, advertisers, and brand managers alike – before it’s too late.