Publishers have always taken steps to attract new younger readers, but the methods of doing so have never been as varied. Now, millennial readers have more points of access and different relationships with magazine content.
A new study from the Media Insight Project, a collaboration between the American Press Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, sheds light on what those readers want.
Millennials may complain about their parents’ presence on Facebook, but they’re still heavily relying on the platform for consuming information.
Out of the 24 topics listed on the survey, Facebook was the No. 1 source for 13 of them, and the No. 2 source for another seven—by far the most dominant platform.
“At the same time, in our qualitative interviews, we also repeatedly heard a pushback against Facebook and to some degree social networks as an environment,” the report reads. “Various people told us they are beginning to see Facebook and other platforms as places that are often prone to negativity, that some people use to start arguments, or that are filled with useless, inaccurate, or untrustworthy information.”
That may be why “softer” topics like pop culture, music, TV, movies and style tended to be the most preferred content on the social network.
Search ranked as the second-most common platform for millennials to get news and information, though they usually turn to search for more practical content like price comparisons, hobbies and how-tos.
Function Dictates Form
The type of content millennials are looking for has a big impact on what sources they use to get it.
Those looking for lifestyle and entertainment stories turn primarily to social networks, while those in search of newsier content typically went straight to reportorial sources like magazines, newspapers and TV stations (or their associated websites).
Meanwhile, millennials go to search engines and other curators for how-to info and when they want to go deeper on a particular topic.
Paying for Content
A majority of millennials paid for content or accessed paid content using someone else’s subscription—that willingness to pay doesn’t mean they agree the practice though.
“In the qualitative interviews, we heard the notion that, because news is important for democracy, people feel they should not have to pay for it,” the report says. “It should be more of a civic right because it is a civic good.”
Surprisingly, respondents also showed a greater willingness to pay for print than for digital content. More than one fifth of the millennials surveyed say they paid for a subscription for a print magazine in the last year, when a less expensive digital version was available.