Media Consumption – some surprises in the new Millennium among Millennials

We thought it was amazing that when we asked over two thousand Millennials, ages 14-29, from across the country to rate a variety of news sources for trust, that the top 7 were all legacy news outlets. Facebook and Huffington Post show up nearly tied for eighth, both outpaced by Fox News among 14-17’s (!).


Were there other sources we thought to ask about after we fielded? Sure. But the point is that in this time of tectonic shifts in media consumption, beliefs may not be changing as rapidly as some would have you believe. The same data set shows FM music radio stations ranking ahead of streamers like Pandora and Spotify in terms of importance in the daily lives of these Millennials.

Were we surprised to see “The Grey Lady” at the top of our news trust rankings? Among Millennials?! Well, yes. And, no. The New York Times has aggressively sought to move itself into the digital space, dragging its reputation as the national newspaper of record with it. They realized that content is what matters as they work to adapt to changing distribution methods and develop new ways to monetize content. They strive to hire the best and brightest, grabbing up rising-star Millennials from the ranks of Facebook, Buzzfeed and the like.

Perhaps most importantly, brands are shaped by how we make users feel. Experiences with content from The New York Times often end with users feeling smarter for having rubbed up against that organization. Time spent with a Spotify channel or “Pod Save America” often ends with users feeling hipper or more worldly.

How often do we consider how consumers feel when interacting with our brands or candidates? Our consumers could be viewing our content via a marketer-generated video they’ve stumbled upon in Social Media or were directed to a station page as the result of an online search. They’re all opportunities for consumers to rub up against us and add to their impressions – positively, neutrally or negatively.

How would you like people to feel when they interact with your or your cause? What are you prepared to do to support that goal? Does it factor in when planning events and fund raisers? Is it known consistently throughout the campaign, from the campaign manager to telephone solicitors to the direct mail house … to the field team (those who show up at your events) … to those who curate, post and respond on your’s behalf in Social Media? The list expands to include everyone on your team.

Your campaign or cause begins competition in the wider new media stage with huge advantages: lower costs to reach data-driven potential voters or contributors, constant access via ubiquitous devices, and more; and the ability to build strong voter/contributor expectations of what they’ll get (okay, many are good, some not). Like The New York Times, it’s up to us to continue to reinvent, to explore new opportunities, to hire great people and marketing partners and build campaigns that make a difference in this changing media landscape.

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