As the first generation to grow up immersed in the digital world, millennials have been blamed for quite a few things – delaying adulthood, upending the workplace, even, allegedly, killing the cereal industry. (Sorry, Sugar Puffs.)
And while they’re certainly guilty of bringing back ’90s fashion and communicating with parents solely via text messaging, there’s one thing they can’t take the blame for, the media disruption.
The demands millennials make on media – that it be always on and always available, that content be of high quality and curated just for them – are the same demands we all make on media today.
Regardless of age, we expect a certain user experience from every website we access, every video we watch, every program we download or stream – and we want that experience to move with us from device to device, location to location.
Think about how different this is from how we consumed media just 10 to 15 years ago – planted in front of a television screen, hardwired to an Internet connection, reading a newspaper printed on, gasp, paper.
And to accommodate these drastically different consumption habits, the media industry has been forced to overhaul production and distribution models. Enter companies such as Netflix, Hulu and Sling TV that offer on-demand, on-the-go programming. Enter the mobile-first strategy in newsrooms and broadcast stations that prioritize the mobile experience over print, TV and even the desktop computer.
Media organizations know: Content today must be mobile-friendly and always, instantly available. And to make this happen, technology simply must be up to par.
Things like website design and ease of use, especially for the mobile experience, matter. Video and website load time, streaming, connectivity and an omnichannel experience need to be top of mind.
And that “share” function is a big deal. We now share news articles, cat videos, brand reviews and just about everything else on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. No surprise, social media is the top referrer— even over Google — for online publishers today, serving up nearly 43 percent of their traffic. Social media coupled with big data analytics offers huge opportunities to engage, understand and reach new audiences, millennial or otherwise.
Media companies will no doubt continue to grapple with the game-changing millennial generation, looking for new ways to reach and engage them. Those companies that succeed will undoubtedly have the digital technology and tools to support the demands made by millennials and, really, all the rest of us today.
What would you improve in serving the all-important millennial generation? How have these changing consumer demands changed your business strategy?
As always, I welcome your input on how to approach changes and challenges in media. If you think I’ve misread a situation or trend, let me know. If you have a new way of thinking about the topics we discuss, pass it on. I want to engage with all of you in this space as together we make sense of today’s media industry.
Scott Dryburgh joined CSC in 2015 as the Industry Lead for Media with responsibility for UK projects in broadcast, publishing, advertising and entertainment. Prior to joining CSC, he worked across a broad range of clients and was responsible for transforming multi-faceted businesses using a creative and entrepreneurial approach.