With the new generation of millennials dominating the worlds population, gone are the days of newspaper flicks on the daily commute and the blast of the evening news from the telly. Thanks to the ever explosive internet, people are now swiping, clicking and tweeting about the news and current events like never before. Fast, free, instant and on demand. Everything you now need to, and ever want to know, is now available via our fingertips.
So what does that mean for the good old fashioned News Paper? Do we really have time to wait for tomorrows printed press that will cost us just under £1 when we could have our smart phones on daily news text alert for free? How do you capture the attention of this fast paced and ever changing generation? And how do you make them listen to what you have to say? Who are these Millennials, and how do we reach out to them?
Who Are the Millennials?
Millennials, also known as the Millennial Generation or Generation Y are the demographic born between the early 1980’s to the late 2000’s, the term Millennials was initially coined by sociologists Neil Howe and William Strauss.
They are the generation that has come of age during a peak of technological change. Millennials break away from the mould their parents set out for them. Media expert Sarah Sladek explains that this tech-savvy, globally minded generation isn’t, “Engaging like other generations before them. They are actively driven to make a difference; they are a force to be reckoned with. Gen Y really is different.”
What Do They Want?
Millennials want modern, fast, cheap and easy.
No they aren’t lazy underachievers like the generation before them like to portray. They are a generation of realists who know what they want and they want it now.
According to a spring 2015 study from Microsoft, the average human attention span has fallen below just that of goldfish. The average human attention span now sits at just 8 seconds, falling 4 seconds from the 12-second average in 2000, putting humans just 1 second below goldfish. So when it comes to the news and the media coverage, the world of digital publishing has had to change dramatically to capture the attention of this readers.
The News Online
When we think of millennials and the news we automatically think of websites such as Vice Media, Buzzfeed, Mic, Ozy, Vox Media, Fushion and Vocativ – just to name a few.
These are the companies which have laid claim to this new turf. As well as delivering fast and constant new contact at the same time, almost every legacy news company is using social media and instant messaging, particularly Facebook, to hunt down more of this millennial audience and expand its readership, something the classic print cannot do.
Buzzfeed’s success alone is built around their magic number: 60. It reaches 60% of the millennial audience and 60% of its entire combined audience is within the millennial age group. That’s roughly 45 million millennials reached through their site each month alone, a hell of a lot more than any daily news paper.
The New Readers
These folk’s, born between the advent of the Walkman and the founding of google, are unsurprisingly shaped by technology. They’re also the first generation of digital natives, and their affinity for technology helps shape how they navigate through their daily lives. Used to instant access and up to date current information anything less, is frankly, unacceptable.
With sites such as The Huffington Post, Popsugar, Elite Daily, Bustle and Buzzfeed having downloadable apps. Users and readers alike can be notified instantly of news, stories and articles within seconds of their publication. The instant access of having Breaking News delivered right to your finger tips not only give you the news in real time, but it gives you the power to know what you choose to know. Have alerts tailored to your particular interests, politics, religions, your location or simply trending topics.
Thanks to social media and online networking, these articles can be shared and passed along, reaching more than just their loyal fan following. Most people have stumbled upon a Popsugar article from Facebook alone from their online Facebook page or from friends sharing links than from direct access to their online site alone.
Unless you leave your newspaper on the bus, this type of news and information sharing just isn’t possible with classic print. Its slower, untraceable and just unnecessary in this changing digital age.
The Rise of Social Media
For context, as of July 2016, the total worldwide population is 7.3 Billion and growing everyday. The internet has 3.17 billion users, daily, that’s almost half the entire world population. There are over 2.3 billion of those internet users regularly active on social media. This use of social media alone has risen by 176 million from December of last year. With 1 million new active mobile social media users added everyday. That’s roughly 12 new users a second.
With Facebook ruling supreme, with over 1,590 million active users, it holds an impressive 18% market share, followed by a cluster of predominantly western social media users on Tumblr with 6%, then Instagram, 4% and Twitter 4%.
So why would the media want to spend millions of pounds each year paying printing costs, delivering their product and relying on sales to spread the news when they could simply link their sites to social media alone, sit back, relax and have the millennial users share their links to the every growing world wide web?
Another factor which determines the time greatness of social media marketing for publishers is the engagement of the audience. Here we again see the dominance of Facebook – it’s also got the greatest engagement in time, with users able to share links on their profiles, send directly to people in private chats and engage with the piece by liking and commenting.
This interactive ability is a far stretch from simply reading a paper in the living room and shouting out to your wife in the kitchen about the new politician. Thanks to technology, the news can not only be delivered, shared, and reached faster. But it can also engage a real time response and engagement within its audience, providing debates, comments and opinions instantly from all around the globe.
Death of Print
The decline of newspapers has been widely debated, as the industry has faced dropping newsprint prices, slumping ad sales, the loss of much classified advertising and precipitous drops in circulation. In recent years the number of newspapers slated for closure, bankruptcy or severe cutbacks has risen, especially in the United States, where the industry has shed a fifth of its journalists since 2001.
In a 2013 monthly essay, reporter, Eric Beecher warned of a looming, “civic catastrophe” if the decline of newspapers continued as it had been in the preceding years. Many newspapers in the US alone have made the transition from print to digital, in the hope of fixing the broken business models of the analogue age. Even those with a predominantly print base service have now got sister sites online to keep up to date with current and changing demands of their new generations of readers.
Many of us have already given up on newspapers, and most of us won’t miss print if indeed does die out as a mass media platform. We access our news on iPads, or mobile phones, or laptops, and find ourselves turning actual, real pages to read our journalism only in those rare – and becoming rarer all the time – situations where there is no internet access, which is rarely never.
Thanks to the digital means of communication, we have access to more news and content than any previous generation ever did. We read more news, not less, because of the online revolution The Big Project.com is a website in itself with multiple links to online newspapers from all over the world with a trending section to keep users up to date. With something like this alone, why waste our time and money buying multiple papers at the shop?
With the digital world constantly growing at an ever alarming rate, can print publishing ever catch up? Thanks to technology and the dominating generations demand for constant, on the go, up to date content. Is there even a need for a News Paper? The generation who find comfort flicking through the News of the world will take the print based media out with them and the new generation will continue to grow and inspire new ways to reach audiences and spread global news. Heck, one day a news paper might even be considered, “Vintage,” watch this space…