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'Old Media' Still Resonate

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LOS ANGELES How do different generations use media? That was the question of a study released last week by Deloitte & Touche's Technology, Media and Telecommunica-
tions practice.

Drawn from a Harrison Group survey of 2,200 consumers 13 to 75 years old, the topline findings of the "State of the Media Democracy" offered hope for traditional media and yielded some fresh insights into new-media trends, according to Ed Moran, director of product innovation in Deloitte's New York office.

For example, consistent across all generational segments—millennials (13-24), Gen Xers (25-41), boomers, (42-60) and matures (61-75)—nearly three-quarters of consumers said they enjoy magazines even though they acknowledge being able to read the same publications online.

Despite their widespread embrace of new media platforms and a "trickle up" effect on older consumers, that tendency was even prevalent (71 percent) among the millennials, Moran said.

Moran said he was also impressed with "the real popularity of user generated content," particularly in terms of its widespread demand. The survey shows that over half (51 percent) of all Internet users consume user generated content across generations.

Even so, what Moran called the "resilience of old media" remains a prominent feature of the landscape. "And one of the main activities online is going to a television Web site," he said. The survey found that 46 percent of consumers do that regularly, including over half (52 percent) of all Gen Xers.

"Television is still a core activity," Moran said. "Even though we see the expected amounts of online, text messaging, cellphone use [and] games—consumers are doing more things, but still watching television. It is always on."

For advertisers, this could be "both troubling and reassuring," he said, predicting that "participatory TV," with some level of interactivity, will become more prevalent, especially as the millennial generation grows up.

Moran said there was also an unexpected result regarding digital video recording devices such as TiVo. "It's the Xers and boomers that rely on DVRs for television use," he said. "But the number-one use for DVR is not commercial skipping."

In fact, the time shifting and the "season ticket" functions (the latter refers to being able to record an entire season of a show) rate highest, he said. The ability to fast-forward through commercials came in third. (The study showed that women like DVRs slightly more than men, and that men are more likely to watch commercials than women.)

Other findings:

--More than a quarter of consumers would pay for online content in exchange for not being exposed to advertising.

--Overall there was more receptivity to print ads than to Internet advertising.

--60 percent of consumers visit 10 or more Web sites a week.

--More than a quarter of leading edge millennials (26 percent) plan to shop online in the coming year.

--Search engines were rivaled by word-of-mouth in driving Internet traffic. Although search was No. 1 at 84 percent, 82 percent of respondents visited a Web site because of a personal recommendation. Ads on television (65 percent), Web site ads (55 percent) and e-mail campaigns (54 percent) followed in influence.