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The Economist on research, millennials, and big data

Earlier this year, The Economist unveiled the results of a new set of research into the media consumption habits of young people. The findings confirmed what had long been suspected throughout the global media industry: people no longer draw a distinction between new media and legacy media brands. We asked The Economist's Nick Blunden, MD of client strategy, to shed some light on the research surrounding this much talked about demographic.

"We wanted to find out more broadly how this generation look at and participate in media, and whether they do draw these distinctions between new media companies that have been positioned as being the kind of voice of that generation – Vice and people like that – and traditional media."

(0:30)

This generation, and in particular a sub-set of them, which we’ve called the ‘Generators’, which is an extremely influential group within millennials as a whole. About 1 in 3 millenials falls into this categorisation. And what we found out about them is that they’re some of the most sophisticated media consumers the world has ever seen. And actually they’re as willing and active to use traditional media as they are new media. 

When it comes to content… (1:15)

They are interested in all different kinds of content and all different types of topics. They consume more media than any other generation that’s gone before us – that’s good news. And the way they consume it is more varied. 

More generally, what is the current state of media research? (1:50)

Yeah, one can always do more. I think we’ve moved on a lot from where we were, both as an industry as a whole and certainly from an Economist perspective. But I think we still have some way to go if I’m being honest – and I think it’s less about the collection of it and its more about the anlaysis. Asking the right questions and then drawing the right conclusions. 

Big data (2:12)

People have got so caught up in this idea of BIG data that they want to measure and collect everything, but actually that is of little use unless you are using it.

The Economist Group is a member of FIPP.

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