How the Rich Are Keeping Traditional Media Afloat
Magazines and newspapers may be nearing obsolescence, but it's the wealthy that are keeping them in business. The vast majority of affluent Americans get the same content in the same ways that they've done for years ― they read stories in magazines and newspapers, watch TV shows and movies on TVs and visit websites on computers.
An Ad Age survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults with a household income of at least $100,000 revealed that despite the rise of iPads and smartphones, people cling to tradition. This income group represents 20 percent of the population and 60 percent of the nation's household income.
When asked how they read magazines, 93 percent of respondents said they read hard-copy print versions; in contrast, less than a third read them on computers. No other device ― smartphone, tablet or e-reader ― was used by more than 10 percent of respondents.
Newspaper consumption tells a similar story: 86 percent read the print version, 39 percent read them on computers, and 14 percent read them on their smartphones. Tablet and e-reader use was less than 10 percent.
But nowhere is the trend so clear as in the living room, where 94 percent of respondents said they watch TV on their TVs, compared to only 23 percent who reported watching TV on computers. Viewing on other devices was negligible.
Will the younger generation usher in an all-digital world? Not anytime soon, according to the survey. Among those in the 18-34 age group, 88 percent read magazines in print, followed by 35 percent who read them online.
Newspapers have been the most vulnerable to the rise of digital content: 70 percent of younger respondents read actual newsprint, while 54 percent get newspaper content online via computers.
As for video content, 94 percent view video content on TVs while 35 percent watch on computers. Even Web browsing is most frequently done on the computer: 93 percent read websites on computers and 38 percent do so on smartphones.
However, younger respondents use tablets for all types of media at an average rate of twice the frequency of their older counterparts.
"Of course, we're not denying the widespread use and tremendous impact of 'new' media ," Stephen Kraus and Bob Shullman said in their Ad Age column. "Moreover, any business that suddenly finds 20-30 percent of its best customers 'experimenting' with less profitable options will face serious challenges."
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