The Generational Divide Becomes Larger

Recent data shows that more Americans get their news from social media, than any other source (with apologies to ABC News for borrowing the phrase).  The implications are profound if not yet totally clear as all of this has happened with great speed. Even a digital based news organization such as Buzzfeed, now sees 75% of its traffic originate from Facebook and other social sources.   

Recent data from Reuters vividly shows just how significant the differences are by each age demographic. While it is not surprising to see TV and newspaper losing dominance with younger groups, this data shows even 45-54 year-olds leaning to online news sources.

This certainly was the impetus for a venerable old-school media company, The Tribune Company, to change its name this week.  However the name TRONC, which is short for Tribune Online Content is unlikely to change much except generate a good chuckle over another goofy name for a company trying to finds its place in a rapidly altered media world.  

A similar digital divide is occurring with audio.  The rapid ascension of the smartphone has changed how many listen.  Edison Research reports 68% of 13-24 year-olds listen to audio on their smartphones daily. That is a sea change from linear AM/FM listening to on-demand.      

Even the name Tronc, with its focus "online" is a step behind.  It is not an online world but rather a mobile one, and the smartphone is now both the entertainment and news hub. Without a direct conduit to consumers on their smartphones, many legacy media brands - not just newspaper companies - will be coming up with their own odd names to try and remain relevant.  


Steve Goldstein will be moderating AM/FM/Podcast: Radio's Pathway to Podcasting, a key panel at Podcast Movement in Chicago on Thursday July 7, with Larry Rosin/Edison Research, Traug Keller/ESPN Audio, Greg Strassell/Hubbard Radio, Sarah Van Mosel/Acast, and John Rosso/Triton Digital. 

On Friday July 8, I will be hosting a breakout session with compelling data about podcast listening in a short attention span world: "They Aren't Listening to Your Entire Podcast - 7 Ways To Fix It."