3 Points About Media Reach and Audience Demographics as We Start the New Year

The pandemic has receded (or at least, concerns about it have) and been replaced by other societal concerns such as inflation, economic fragility, climate change, and war in the Ukraine. How has media consumption changed amid this landscape? The latest edition of Marketing Charts’ US Media Audience Demographics report [purchase page] shows that media reach has plateaued after gains made during the pandemic.

1. Media Reach Dips Span Digital & Traditional Media

After increases in media reach were registered during the pandemic, this past year’s data shows that those gains have subsided and been replaced by slips in reach across all media analyzed. This suggests that media consumption has reached something of a short-term plateau, but also that the broad shifts that occurred – likely as a result of the pandemic – have eased.

Indeed, only one medium saw a somewhat sizable change in reach in 2022 compared to a year earlier: although a majority of adults (52.7%) reported listening to internet radio in the Spring 2022 data, that was down from 58.8% a year earlier.

That decline is interesting in light of other audio-related formats. Offline radio remained relatively consistent at 91.3% reach (down slightly from 92.8%), while podcast listening was the most steady from the year earlier, almost flat at 22.7% of adults listening weekly (versus 22.9% the year earlier).

2. Hispanic Adults Less Tuned in to Traditional Media

Hispanic adults are consistently less likely to engage with traditional media than the general population, according to the report. While they’re close to the average in weekly use of offline radio and print newspapers, they under-index more heavily in traditional TV viewing (71% vs. the 76% average, and as seen in other research) and print magazine readership (46% vs. 52%).

By contrast, digital audio seems like a good bet for reaching Hispanic adults, who over-index in internet radio listening and are right at the average in podcast listening.

3. Affluents Sure Like Their Media

Across all of the digital and traditional media types analyzed, one thing was consistent: adults with household income of at least $100K were more likely than average to engage with the medium.

This was especially the case for certain digital media, with affluents being considerably more likely than the average to watch streaming/downloaded video, read digital periodicals/e-books, and listen to podcasts.

If you’re interested in more detailed stats about traditional, online and social media audiences, head on over here to get your copy of our report, which breaks down the reach and demographic composition of several major media audiences. The 43-page report, packed with 36 charts and tables, also provides a series of cheat sheets that compare traditional, online and social channels across demographic variables so you can quickly see which are the most likely to attract different groups.

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