Conquering youth is no longer an option

On a yearly basis, PwC comes out with a report presenting the global entertainment and media outlook. This year, a key trend has emerged: youth are incontestably the driving forces behind growth in the media and entertainment sectors.

By Alexandra Yeh (Méta-Media)

PwC confirms what we already suspected, i.e., that conquering youth is no longer an option but rather an obligation for the media. After studying 54 countries’ public cultural practices, the Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2016-2020 report presents a detailed analysis of the trends that will shape tomorrow’s media.

Youth demonstrate a greater lever of openness to innovative, multi-screen and multitask content, and their purchasing power is on the rise. These are the publishers’ readers and subscribers of tomorrow. Consequently, the shift to digital needs to be made now in order to seduce them and get them to durably adopt tomorrow’s media as part of their cultural routine.

A more versatile public

If the E&M (entertainment and media) industry is doing well, its growth prospects for 2016–2020 are rather dim, and the industry’s actors will need to seize every available opportunity in an increasingly competitive global market. In this context, millennials represent an all the more important media audience.

Unsurprisingly, PwC’s report reveals that youth consume more media content than their elders and are much more attracted to digital than their elders. Seeing as their cultural habits are less entrenched, they are quicker to change their consumption patterns to adopt new media forms and have a high propensity to multitask, i.e., to consume multiple media forms simultaneously.

It is therefore not surprising to observe a correlation between consumer demographics and the size of the E&M industry. As we can see in the graphic below, the greater a market’s under-35 population, the more E&M spending will weigh in on the GDP.

Another trend explains this correlation: the markets with the youngest consumers (India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Peru) are those where the middle class is growing the quickest. The middle class is characterized by a propensity to spend more on non-essential expenses, which in turn explains why youth spend more on media and entertainment than their elders.

The population pyramid provides key economic data

Millennials are early adopters of new media, are into multitasking and are very likely to spend a significant portion of their budget on entertainment. They therefore represent a real Eldorado for publishers. In short, for media seeking to penetrate new markets, consumer demographics and the age pyramid shed light on data that is at least as important as the GDP.

In markets where consumers are not as young and are less familiar with digital, it may be appropriate for publishers to focus on traditional media seeing as their audiences’ cultural habits are not very likely to evolve. PwC provides as an example Japan, where the ageing population remains very faithful to print media and where daily newspaper sales dropped by only 6.3% in the last four years. In this type of market, proposing digital media content is much less pressing.

On the contrary, in younger markets, it is vital that publishers make the move towards the digital revolution. Indeed, youth’s consumption patterns fluctuate a lot more and youth are much more keen on new formats and new supports. Youth take pleasure in innovative content and spend more and more of their budget on media and entertainment. As proof, according to PwC, E&M spending in the ten youngest markets is increasing ten times faster than in the ten oldest markets.

This article was originally published on Méta-Média and is presented here as part of the editorial partnership between CMF Trends and Méta-Média. © [2015] [Méta-Média]. All rights reserved.

Méta-Media is France Télévisions' collective blog that focus on the evolution of traditional media, new media and journalism.
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