July 16, 2009

Bad Times = More Media Consumption

Posted in Current Events, Media at 8:41 pm by R

A study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project  affirms the fact that knowledge is power. It appears that the recession has increased media consumption, especially through electronic means.

People are reaching out for resources that can help them deal with their present situations. (This tells us something about the kind of news we should be pitching right now and the strategy PR practitioners should be leading during these times.) Sixty-nine percent of Americans have used the Internet to help them with a problem related to the economy.

Pew studied two different types of households in this analysis, general population and ‘broadband’ households. ‘Broadband’ households seem to be those receiving larger bandwidth services like cable Internet and TV…I’m guessing, but I think I’m right.

Among those ‘broadband’ households, Internet media resources were the number one source for garnering economic knowledge, dominating over TV and print.

The general population still seems to be going to print as a primary knowledge resource, which surprises me to be honest. The caveat to this appears to be that people are utilizing more than one format of media to understand what’s going on in this wacky economic climate.

Another likely factor, which I suspect contributes to the study’s numbers, is that most younger households are probably in the ‘broadband’ category. So you have lots of Gen Y-ers, such as myself who are really experiencing their first recession and are going to their reference of choice…the Internet. Here we find that people are sharing in our experiences, offering advice and soldiering on…it inspires hope.

Also worth noting is that the amount of time American’s spend watching TV is on the rise. The likely cause of this (in my humble TV-watching opinion) is that people are staying home more and getting their entertainment from what’s on the old tube.

It’s interesting how what’s happening in our world affects how we consume news and how much of it we digest. I  confidently venture to say that a lot of people scrap their news habits entirely when the news is negative i.e. war, terror, natural disasters, etc. We are only programmed to be able to handle so much. It’s self preservation really…

BUT with this recession, we can each do something to improve or have some level of control in our own situations, so the more information we each have, the better equipped we are. Hence, the more news and information we are consuming.

Whether or not our habits will persist as the economic tidal wave subsides remains to be seen. Advertisers certainly hope so, I’ve no doubt of that.

~R

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2 Comments »

  1. Very good post and thought compelling.

    I think that we as–and I’ll speak broadly–communications professionals, blog readers, social media users, marketers, new media professionals, are VERY close to the emerging trends of the Internet (like Twitter), there are many who don’t even “log on.”

    In reality, studies still show that very few of us are using mediums like Twitter, and due to multiple factors, it is uncertain when the “general population” will be turning to the latest social media applications to find our information.

    While 69% of the American people have used the Internet to help them with problems related to the economy (a broad conclusion in itself–what is “help?”), there are still nearly 1/3 or 1 out of every 3 people who aren’t even turning to the Internet.

    My point being is that while some of us are close to the Internet and even fewer are closer to cutting edge social media applications, multiple studies (including this one) shows that a LOT of people are still getting their information from traditional sources.

    Thanks,
    Brent Diggins
    Mindspace PR
    @bdiggs

  2. Kristen (@KristenEJ) said,

    I think this a good analysis of how people are currently using media. I’d also like to add that I believe that we should try our best to service all types of media, not just shut down newspapers because someone thinks that everyone reads Twitter streams. If ad revenues weren’t so low, the wars between the mediums wouldn’t even exist


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