New study identifies four distinct types of millennial news consumers
A new study explores the news habits of Millennials and identifies four distinct groups of news consumers. The study, a deeper analysis of a survey conducted earlier in 2015 by the Media Insight Project, finds that as it relates to their information use and the way they consume information about different topics, adults age 18 to 34 are not a monolithic group. The survey results identify the following groups of Millennials who share certain characteristics in their information consumption: the Unattached, the Explorers, the Distracted, and the Activists. The Media Insight Project is a collaboration between the American Press Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
"This study identifies truly distinct characteristics that typify each group of news consumers and identifies challenges and opportunities for news publishers attempting to reach the Millennial audience," said Trevor Tompson, director of The AP-NORC Center. "Clearly they are not a single group."
Some of the key characteristics of each group include:
- The Unattached: Younger, age 18-24, bump into news, rather than seeking it out. Most have not yet started families or established careers. They primarily go online for social or entertainment activities, and few follow current events. Most do not pay for news, but many still keep up generally with what is going on in the world and are open to differing opinions.
- The Explorers: Younger, also age 18-24, actively seek out news and information; many demographic similarities to the Unattached, but slightly more men than women. They tend to follow a variety of current events and news-you-can-use topics. Many believe in the social and civic benefits of following news.
- The Distracted: Older, age 25-34, many have families and are part of the middle class. They tend to not use news for civic or social purposes. They do not actively seek news out and tend to mainly follow lifestyle and news-you-can use topics with direct relevance to their daily lives.
- The Activists: Older, age 25-34, actively seek out news and information. They tend to have already established families, careers, and a connection to their community. They are racially and ethnically diverse and experienced enough in the world to care about certain issues, and they have enough stability in life to spend energy on those issues. A majority of these Millennials personally pay for a digital or print news subscription.
"The study provides key insights as well as concrete recommendations for publishers wishing to reach Millennials," said Tom Rosenstiel, executive director of the American Press Institute. "The opportunity lies in recognizing that the Millennial generation is as nuanced as any other and that content creators need to reach different types of Millennials in different ways, and reach them where they are already consuming information."