The Demographic Divide: A Special Report

The Demographic Divide: Special Report
Illustration: VIP+: Adobe Stock

The worlds of media, entertainment and technology have never been so closely entwined as they are today. Just when you think you’ve gotten a hold on the latest entertainment platform — SVOD, VMVPDs, FAST — along come NFTs.

Not only is the media landscape changing, but so are the consumers. We’re now at the point where digital natives constitute a measurable group to compare with other generations. Entertainment consumption is undergoing a sea change as well, meaning today’s entertainment firms have to cater to audiences that don’t even share the same formats.

In order to shed light on not just how consumption varies by age groups but how media and entertainment may change in the future, Variety Intelligence Platform partnered with leading consumer insights firm GetWizer to survey U.S. residents 15 and over on their usage habits and attitudes toward the wide-ranging spectrum of offerings.

The VIP+ special report “The Demographic Divide” covers both traditional and emerging media and entertainment spaces, with TV, movies, news, social media, video games, streaming services, music, podcasts, cryptocurrency and NFTs all featured. The data is assessed by four age demographics: 15-29 (digital natives), 30-44, 45-59 and 60+, groups that allow for the added benefit of segmenting by broad lifestyle stages.

The results of our study show an entertainment world that’s diverging. Older viewers remain somewhat married to tradition, with lower pickup rates of any emerging platform and higher-than-average usage of FM radio and television networks. Younger generations embrace a much wider media mix as well as hold completely different concepts of what entertainment is.

This spells out a very different world than currently exists. For formats that have been slow to transition, such as local TV news, digital natives tend to see them as out of sight, out of mind. This is a stark warning that to remain relevant in future years, business strategies must be crafted now to reach younger consumers on their terms as they are clearly rejecting the structured entertainment world of yore.

Another aspect to keep in mind for the future is how varied digital natives are in their preferred content blend. This is the generation that grew up on YouTube being led by individuals and, once that became commercialized, moved on to Instagram, Snapchat and now TikTok. They also embrace Netflix, meaning that while there is space in their entertainment mix for professional content, they still want raw entertainment and will continue to seek it out.

Read on to learn about:


Key differences between younger and older U.S. audiences


Eyeing the future of entertainment based on emerging trends


Which areas of media are most at risk of becoming obsolete