Thursday, August 04, 2011

The Media Choice of the Affluent

It is rare that I write a blog that just re-emphasizes what someone else has said. However, in this case, a survey just passed my desk that’s worth pointing out. With all due respect to the buzz on social media and its growing importance, here comes research that says that “among affluent Americans, print media is tops."

The key point is that, when asked how they read magazines, 93% of affluent respondents (i.e., those making at least $100,000 in annual household income), said they read hard copy print versions --in contrast to less than a third who read them on computer. No other format garnered more than 10 percent Note the chart below. Almost the same picture was true for newspapers.

The survey conducted 1000 online interviews … and keep in mind that this group involves the 20% of Americans who account for about 60% of US income and 70% of US net worth. The study, conducted by Ipsos Mendelsohn via its Mendelsohn Affluent Barometer, appeared in Ad Age on August 1.

In an earlier survey, a similar pattern emerged. When affluent Americans were asked how they follow a major news item, such as the death of Osama Bin Laden, network TV topped the list, cited by 70%, while 40% cited printed newspapers.

For those of us in the communications business whose clients must reach affluent targets, this is important information to consider when plotting campaigns. Nevertheless, my hunch is that we will see a dramatic upward shift in the online ratio among the affluent within the next couple of years.
The truism is that no media channel ever disappears – it just may change form. We’re still listening to the radio, more music, sports and news than dramas, comedies and soap operas. Newspapers and magazines, while appearing to be in their twilight, will survive. So will TV. None of the media channels will die; they will just evolve. The internet is just the latest iteration. But it is the first one that merges all of the previous communications channels and still stands to revolutionize our lives in its own right.

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