Who Are the Millennials and How They Are Different from Other Generations When It Comes to Media Interaction

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It is no surprise that media influence varies across generations. Even though the millennials, also termed as Generation Y has the most options regarding sources of entertainment and news, their consumption habits bear a striking difference from older generations. Individuals of this generation were born from the early 1980s to 2000 and are placed between Generation Z and Generation X (Rainer & Rainer, 2011). Howe and Strauss (2009) who formulated the term “millennials” describe this generation as not only less traditional in their cultural and religious standpoints but also more socially and politically liberal. Moreover, millennials are the first generation that was raised with digital technology considering the fact that the digital revolution started affecting families in the 1980s even though it began in the 1950s. As a result of extensive technological know-how, they believe themselves to be ahead in terms of informed media consumption as compared to preceding generations (Considine, Horton, & Moorman, 2009). In this regard, this paper seeks to discuss who the millennials are exactly, how they are differences from other generations and whether large media organizations have too much influence on Generation Y.

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Media Consumption

Many large media organizations exist around the globe. The top five biggest media firms listed by Business Insider are Alphabet, which currently owns Google, The Walt Disney Company which owns the Disney Channel and US national TV network, ABC, among others, Comcast, 21st Century Fox, and lastly, Facebook. These organizations are listed according to the media revenue generated which is mainly from advertisements and circulation of magazines and newspapers (O'Reilly, 2016). On media consumption, the executive director of the American Press Institute, Tom Rosenstiel (2010) refers to Generation Y as the “leading edge” regarding technology use and “on-demand grazers for news.” Data shows individuals are watching media television more than Gen X. In comparison, the percentage of about sixty-five percent to sixty-one percent, respectively. However, this percentage is less than for other generations that preceded them such as the baby boomers. Different leading ways that millennials get their news is on the internet, newspapers, and radio in that order. Regarding television sources, forty-three percent of these individuals are seen to obtain news from any cable source including CNN at twenty-four percent and Fox news at nineteen percent. Other network sources are ABC and CBS. On internet sources, the majority obtain news from Yahoo, CNN, Google, MSN, Fox, and the New York Times.

Media Influence

Large media organizations have too much influence on the millennials. Nevertheless, this depends on its media approach or strategy. For example, more traditional methods to news and entertainment sources such as television, cinemas, and print newspapers have considerably less influence on Gen Y. For instance, Druga (2016) maintains that in the spring of 2016, large media organizations such as Walt Disney, 21st Century Fox, Time Warner, and CBS, among others lost about $45 billion in six weeks. One of the identified reasons is the cancellation of cable subscriptions as more millennials prefer streaming services. Television advertisers have also experienced an audience decline as individuals have become acquainted with and favor commercial-free viewing in streaming services like Netflix thanks to ad blockers. Furthermore, millennials have the lowest ratio of moviegoers. Notably, this is because this generation spends a significant amount of time on social media and viewing content online on sites like Hulu and Netflix (Thompson, 2016). As a result of this trend, Media Organizations are using other digital means to reach the millennials. For example, YouTube videos are estimated to have about fifty billion monthly views with the most massive audience being Gen Y. For that reason, multi-channel networks are engaging and collaborating with YouTube influencers or content creators for television shows and commercials to attract this generation. Through such avenues, large media firms influence millennials significantly. For example, 2018 statistics show that individuals aged 25-34 make the most significant number (58.3 million) of Facebook users (Statistical, 2019). Moreover, Facebook is among the significant sites where this generation acquires information on daily happenings and entertainment.

Distrust for traditional media approaches is another reason for less influence on millennials by large media organizations. According to Fingerhut (2016), this generation exhibits a degree of distrust concerning traditional news outlets especially newspapers and televisions. Markedly, this is because they consider the information to be skewed as a result of the political agenda and bias that influence media organizations. Considering that most large organizations own a massive chunk if not all the disseminated information, these concerns are legitimate. In contemporary society, it is evident that television news stations are biased concerning the information they provide to the public since they are mostly divided on the basis on political affiliation (Mitchell et al., 2014). In looking at media marketing strategies, it is evident that by using the right methods, large media corporations influence millennials.

While the population of millennials is higher than other generations, they also form a considerable fraction of consumers. As such, they have changed the modes of marketing as sellers shift to digital marketing to attract this group. Social media platforms, as well as influencers, have helped brands to market their products and get hold of new audiences extremely fast. Therefore, large media firms are taking more digital approaches, especially in advertising to ensure that they continue to stay relevant and impact Gen Y (Rainer & Rainer, 2011).

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