Who needs TV? Millennials sidestep traditional news channels for social media

Peter Terlato 15 August 2016

Millennials tablet news social media

Millennials are digital-savvy social giants.

Television is still the primary outlet for news consumption for most Australians but millennials are shifting away from traditional channels, sourcing relevant content from social media.

According to the latest research, social media is the most popular source of news for 31% of "trailing" millennials (aged 14-26) and 25% for "leading millennials" (aged 27-32).

These findings were drawn from responses to the 2016 Deloitte Australian Media Consumer Survey, the fifth edition of the firm's digital preferences study.

Comparatively, 20% of Generation X (aged 33-49) digest most of their news via social media, while just 6% of baby boomers (aged 50-68) use Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to find out what's happening in the world.

Unsurprisingly, those aged 69 and above don't use social media at all when consuming the news of the day.

Although the number of respondents engaging with social media on a daily basis only increased slightly (up 2% year-on-year to 61%), the fastest growth rates over the past four years have been among baby boomers (38%) and matures (40%).

While Facebook is the most popular of all networks (93% of Aussie social media users are active on Facebook), Deloitte suggest for some, it may be starting to lose its appeal.

"Using Facebook can perhaps now best be seen as something of a habit, less about real connections and more about keeping up with the facade that people curate (intentionally or not) on their profile pages," the report said.

"Younger generations are not the most represented on Facebook, it's their parents and grandparents."

96% of boomers using social media are active on Facebook, compared with 92% of leading millennials and 88% of trailing millennials.

"The youngest generation - the most prolific users of social media - are looking further for their social media needs and newer (post-2010) social networks are catching on," the report said.

The inclination to discover news through social media may be attributed to the fact that smartphone ownership among Aussies almost doubled over the last four years, from 46% in 2012 to 86% in 2016.

Companies and brands, including the curators of news and current affairs, have shifted from being on social to being social by embracing the style, format, language and tone of the social media environment.

Through the use of hashtag campaigns, viral marketing, visual content and interactive discussions businesses are able to more effectively engage consumers, share brand messages and grow their social communities.

When it comes to providing financial services and advice, it's a very different story, with over half of Aussie banks and 20% of fintechs feeling unsure how to properly engage with millennials.

Picture: Shutterstock

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