I Am Gen Y: Consumption

I am your stereotypical Gen Y. Admittedly I’m probably a little more tech savvy and geekier than most but this is how I consume my media.

I do not read the newspaper.

In fact I hardly even read newspaper websites. Instead I read blogs about topics I’m interested in. Some of it is news, but some is also entertainment, therefore removing my need for a newspaper at all. I use RSS to pull everything I want into one area. It doesn’t waste my time with articles I don’t read and most importantly it’s free and for the most without interrupting ads.

I do not listen to the radio.

My iPhone has all my music on it. All of which I downloaded illegally and doesn’t cost me a cent. It’s as commercial free as Triple J, except all music I love. Through iTunes I download podcasts about news, marketing, comedy and my favourite, Hamish and Andy. Each day they are automatically downloaded and synced to my iPhone. My set up even allows me to listen to my iPhone through the car speakers.

I do not watch television.

What I don’t watch on YouTube or what isn’t a web series, I download. Again, illegally and again free. 2 minutes after a show has aired in the US it’s sitting on my computer, ready to watch how I want and when I want. I sit my bed with my notebook or I watch on the train with my iPhone. I pause it when I want and most importantly, I watch without commercials.

If you’re still using these channels to advertise to Gen Y, you’re an idiot. And if you’re producing media based on these business models, you’re fucked.

No Comments
  • Nathan Bush
    Posted at January 15, 2009 1:29pm, 15 January Reply

    Sorry Zac – totally disagree with this one. I think people such as yourself (and myself included) are embracing the new avenues, however, radio and tv etc are still incredibly popular with Gen Y (explains why Nova is the top rating station in most markets, shows such as So You Think You Can Dance remain incredibly popular).

    No doubt the GenY’ers are weening off traditional mediums but they’re not there yet. For example, and I know I might get crucified for this, my girlfriend (and I think she represents Gen Y very well) has no idea how to download illegal content, would not know what an RSS feeder is and does not give a shit about non-mainstream social networks outside of facebook and youtube. Sure, we are trending towards where the early adopters are but we’re not there on a mainstream level yet. Best to use traditional AND non-traditional avenues in conjunction if we want to mass reach Gen Y.

  • Nathan Bush
    Posted at January 15, 2009 1:45pm, 15 January Reply

    Howver, if you ignore these channels, yes, you’re and idiot AND you’re fucked.

  • talkingdigital
    Posted at January 15, 2009 2:48pm, 15 January Reply

    There’s a huge danger on basing your decisions on a sample size of 1. Like Nathan says, loads of Gen Y’s use those media and the numbers are there to back it up.

  • Zac Martin
    Posted at January 15, 2009 2:57pm, 15 January Reply

    Yes boys, I would agree. I am probably not your stereotypical Gen Y. But I will be in five years. This post wasn’t so much about the advertising part, probably more to say that newspapers, radio stations and television broadcasters will not exist in two generations.

    Just stirring the pot, as I do best. ;]

  • Julian Cole
    Posted at January 15, 2009 3:01pm, 15 January Reply

    I dont think you are the average Gen Yer, you would be classified as an early adopter. The general Gen Y population do not get their news from blogs, I still have to explain to alot of my friends what blogs are.

    As much as you are telling companies to stop living in the past, Zac you have got to stop living in the FUTURE!

  • Kate Richardson
    Posted at January 15, 2009 3:17pm, 15 January Reply

    If television broadcasters don’t exist, who’s going to pay for all those great series you’re gettin’ for free?

    Consumers? Yep. Directly? Maybe.
    Brands? Maybe. Through advertising? Unlikely.

  • mab397
    Posted at January 15, 2009 3:46pm, 15 January Reply

    Hehe soon we’ll only be able to download songs with a catchy hook about the refreshing taste of Sprite. Then when we stream our on demand TV shows, at the end we’ll click on a link and purchase clothes, furniture and electronics from the show.

  • Lee
    Posted at January 15, 2009 3:58pm, 15 January Reply

    I’m at the tail end of Gen X and you have described me as well, although I occasionally watch TV if only to save my downloads.

    Actually that is probably the only thing stopping me from completely abandoning the avenues you describe – bandwidth and download caps.

  • Anonymous
    Posted at January 15, 2009 5:27pm, 15 January Reply

    Life is all about numbers Zac. At present despite some 71% of Australians identifying themselves with having computer access those existing in the Gen Y space are outnumbered by those in older demographics and as such they hold the balance of communication power.

    We have moved into an exciting phase though where more and more marketing / branding organisations have recognised the need for integrated communication campaigns containing both an offline and online element.

    However the biggest obstacle to digital in favour of traditional above the line media is the lack of education.

    Most marketing managers do not understand or see the value in new media outside of temporary promotional campaigns and the company website; and content providers are struggling to adapt production models and advertising models to the new media framework.

    There is a real need for business impact studies to be done outlining the $$$ benefits to organisations in the new media space.

    Perhaps a thesis topic Zac?

  • m a t t b o w e n
    Posted at January 15, 2009 6:31pm, 15 January Reply

    I think Nathan and Jules have hit the nail here. You’re not quite the sterotype here Zac. How many stereotypical Gen Y’s write blogs daily? Whilst the number is no doubt growing, its still very much in the early stages of adoption as a behaviour, like is RSS Feeds, downloading movies and TV and podcasting your Hamish and Andy show.

    As a media strategist, I still constantly advertise in Print and Radio, and still achieve great results. There are a huge bulk of that target still in this arena, and for the print aspect, I’m talking to Gen Y parents. As you’d know, whilse Gen Y want everything now, they still are heavily influenced by their parents in making the big decisions.
    They’ve got the life experience we envy.

  • JustKyp
    Posted at January 15, 2009 7:53pm, 15 January Reply

    You’ve finally posted something to bring me out of the dreaded lurker group, Zac! I hate to disagree with you on this one, but you’re not a stereotypical Gen Y by any stretch of the imagination.

    Early adopters have been downloading music and TV and enjoying that content for quite a few years now. While P2P is starting to receive recognition in mainstream media, it is still not a ‘mainstream’ activity. Some sections of Gen Y will never try it – concerned re: legalities, how difficult is it, etc. Others will prefer more legal methods – iTunes, Amazon MP3, etc.

    When Tivo was launched and mass amounts of consumers suddenly had the ability to skip TV commercials, advertisers feared they had lost opportunities – but studies have proven that people skipping ads actually pay more attention to the ads than watching it in real-time. Tivo has underlined the value in brand placement on screen – unsurprisingly, centrally located logos are where it’s at.

    To effectively market and advertise now requires an integrated commitment to both traditional and future forms of media. However, I think you’ll find that advertising campaigns focusing purely on traditional media are still delivering great ROI to clients – right now, and for the near foreseeable future.

    If you were to make a call between newspapers, radio and television as the first to go Zac (big call, by the way, in your comments), which would you choose, and why? My feeling is that they won’t die out. There will still be a market, somewhere, for people to read newspapers (think local papers, think advertising vehicles like the MX, etc). Will digital radio save radio? Unlikely here, but it may have in the US. And as for television broadcasters, who is going to commission and support the TV series you download for nothing if they no longer exist? Will iTunes and its ilk become the broadcasters of tomorrow?

    I hope my first comment was worthy!


    P.S I would very much like to ask your advice on setting up a ‘blog. I have a tumblr account, but it’s more suited to ‘scraps’ of thought rather than longer postings!

  • Zac Martin
    Posted at January 15, 2009 8:18pm, 15 January Reply

    I have to admit I agree with most points made in the discussion. But without going out there exaggerating points and being controversial, these conversations don’t happen.

    @ Justkyp

    Shoot me through an email and I’d be more than happy to help! =)

  • Paul
    Posted at January 15, 2009 9:15pm, 15 January Reply
  • Craig Wilson
    Posted at January 15, 2009 10:52pm, 15 January Reply


    I mostly agree with your thoughts (see http://www.mediahunter.com.au post referencing this). But, as a self appointed spokesperson for tech savvy Gen Y, could you please suggest how we marketers and advertisers reach you now? Because that is going to be the part of the equation that lubricates the production of the ad-free media you consume.


  • Zac Martin
    Posted at January 15, 2009 11:15pm, 15 January Reply

    @ Craig

    Great question, and one I do not have an answer to. Although I do have some ideas, post coming soon…

    In the mean time, here are some interesting models to consider.

  • Kate Richardson
    Posted at January 16, 2009 3:38pm, 16 January Reply

    Great discussion, Zac. Look forward to the follow up post.


    “centrally located logos are where it’s at”


    I don’t know if they would really catch my attention amidst the 3,000 messages I’m exposed to a day.

    I don’t know anyone who has a PVR who watches more ads.

  • JustKyp
    Posted at January 16, 2009 5:27pm, 16 January Reply
  • Nudge Marketing
    Posted at January 16, 2009 6:39pm, 16 January Reply

    Just on the question of “how do we reach Gen Y’s?” I have a very simple answer for you…

    Make Great Stuff.

    A great burger, a great phone, a great book, a great anything will eventually get noticed.

    Im with Zac on this one. I dont listen to radio I listen podcasts, I dont read the newpaper I read websites and I hardly turn on my TV anymore.

  • Damian Damjanovski
    Posted at January 16, 2009 7:16pm, 16 January Reply

    Great blog post dude, great food for thought, inspired me to write about some more Gen-Y insights. http://www.refinedgeek.com

  • Ross Hill
    Posted at January 17, 2009 12:06am, 17 January Reply

    I think the alternatives you mention there are going to be still in the innovator or early adopter stages regardless of demographic.

    Youtube has a lot of users but rss/podcasts are still smalltime, and I don’t really rate rss – I think most people will browse to a site if they want to read it.

    It will definitely take some time to phase out the old mediums because it is probably going to be a generational thing, but it can happen.

  • Anonymous
    Posted at January 19, 2009 12:10pm, 19 January Reply

    “If you’re still using these channels to advertise to Gen Y, you’re an idiot. And if you’re producing media based on these business models, you’re fucked.”

    Big call. Whilst I agree in principle that change is a’comin’ – I don’t think it’s as dire as you make it out. These mediums will change / adapt to better suit audience demand. It’s only a headspace issue for a major TV network to start delivering its content via IP rather than terrestrial broadcast, and they have plenty of capital to do it with.

    Just like television didn’t kill radio and radio didn’t kill newspapers, the internet is just going to change consumer behaviour, not change the fundamentals of media as an industry.

    And if you think you’ll be able to keep getting your content for free, you’re absolutely kidding yourself. There’s always a price, and it’ll come. You’re just living in international waters at the moment…

  • Zac Martin
    Posted at January 19, 2009 1:07pm, 19 January Reply

    @ Anonymous

    Certainly a big call, and not one I believe in 100%. However sometimes you have to be bold to get people talking.

    However, I do believe in two generations time when half the population is long gone traditional media will be struggling to have a place in our media consumption.

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