I read in Advertising Age the results of a recent media survey in the US. These results didn’t surprise me. The survey showed the wealthier in the population still read print publications just as much now as they did five years ago, that electronic and digital media has not displaced this consumer habit. This is not to say this audience aren’t adopters of digital, it’s that they haven’t adopted it at the expense of their print consumption. The media that has lost their attention is in fact television.
“Respondents making more than $100,000 annually said their average hours online had grown to 22.1 each week from 10.7, while the time they said they spent watching TV sunk to 18.6 hours from 23.7 in the 2003 survey. And they said their time spent listening to the radio had declined slightly. But they said they're regularly reading an average of 15.3 print publications, a notch above 15.1 five years earlier. Readers making more than $250,000 said they read just as many publications, 23.8 now, as they did in 2003.”
Research at our bank among our most affluent customers shows a similar pattern. Print, in fact Weekly Newspapers being very dominant, followed by Radio, Television and then the Internet.
There is an obvious correlation between age and wealth and the wealthier segment of the market tend to be older. It makes sense, the older you get the less likely you are to change habits and we know that readers bond heavily with print. I know people who have been reading the same array of print media since their youth, so usurping this media habit is nigh impossible.
Recently the Unilever Institute released a study called PrimeTime which looked at consumers 40+, the first study of its kind in SA. While I had to question some of the insights on Internet use, the study certainly offered interesting observations about how wealthier and older consumers interact with media. In the US survey, only 40% of affluent consumers said they use their cellphones or mobile devices to access the internet. But that proportion rises with affluence, so that fully 57% of the segment earning more than $250,000 reported using mobile devices to get online.
I think this is great news for print. There’s no reason why its relevance needs to be usurped by rush of digital growth.