NEWS | 23 Feb 2021

Tiktok, tabloids or linear television – new report sheds light on different generations’ media habits

A reading man and a kid watching a movie in a sofa

Photo: Scandinav Bildbyrå

Senior citizens are continuously increasing their use of digital media, but there is still a large difference between them and younger citizens who have grown up with digital technology. This is shown by a new report by Nordicom, Mediebarometern 2019: Tema generationer [The Media Barometer 2019: Generations], where Catharina Bucht analyses age differences in the Swedish population’s media use.

The two groups dedicating most time to media consumption are youth and young adults, and senior citizens. Both groups spend a great part of their time using audio and audiovisual media. However, their usage is different when it comes to the choice of platforms and channels.

The oldest age group in the survey, 65–79 years old, established their media habits before the Internet existed, and they use legacy media to a larger extent. For example, nine out of ten watch linear television on an average day. Youth and young adults, 15–24 years old, have grown up in a digital media landscape, and for them, the first-hand choice is digital. For example, eight out of ten watch YouTube on an average day.

The oldest group is, however, increasing their use of digital media. One half of the group use social networking services on an average day, most commonly Facebook. Around one out of five also watch streamed television, like SVT Play or Netflix, on an average day. The younger half of the oldest age group is also more apt to use digital services.

The age groups 25–44 and 45–64 years old have more of a mixed “media diet” and use both digital and legacy media. Within both groups, the younger halves are more digitally active.

Although age can often be seen as the most distinctive factor when it comes to differences in media use, the report shows that other factors can sometimes be more important. News consumption through a morning newspaper is most common among people with higher education. In most age groups, book reading is more widely spread among women than men, while Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube are used to a larger extent by men.

Mediebarometern 2019: Tema generationer is an in-depth analysis of the results from the Media Barometer 2019. The Media Barometer is an annual survey by Nordicom, studying the media use on an average day among 9–79-year-olds in Sweden. Both reports are freely available to read and download:

Five quick facts about the different age groups’ media habits

Ages 9–14

  1. Time spent on media use: Around five hours per day.
  2. Most popular: YouTube.
  3. Children read more books than the other age groups.
  4. Apart from books, they consume visual and audio media.
  5. Around nine out of ten have their own account on some kind of social networking platform, most commonly Snapchat. Most services have an age limit of 13, but that doesn’t seem to stop the young users.

Ages 15–24 

  1. Time spent on media use: Close to eight hours per day – most among all age groups!
  2. Most popular: Social networking services, where almost two hours are spent on an average day.
  3. 99 per cent have their own account on some kind of social networking platform.
  4. Youth and young adults listen to more music than the other age groups. They also have the largest use of social media.
  5. News are consumed through social media, most commonly through Instagram, followed by Facebook.

Ages 25–44 

  1. Time spent on media use: Around five hours and 45 minutes per day.
  2. 96 per cent have their own account on some kind of social networking platform.
  3. Facebook is the most common news source.
  4. This group uses digital media a lot, but there are differences within the group. The younger half, 25–34 years old, watch more streamed television and YouTube and less linear television than the older half, 35–44 years old.
  5. The evening newspaper’s largest share of readers is in the older half of this group, 35–44 years old. 

Ages 45–64

  1. Time spent on media use: Around five hours and 40 minutes per day.
  2. This group uses both digital and more traditional media. The younger half, 45–54 years old, use more digital options.
  3. Radio is used more in this group than others. 
  4. Women in this group use social networking services to a much larger extent than men.
  5. SVT’s news is the most common information source for current events.

Ages 65–79

  1. Time spent on media use: Close to six hours and 30 minutes on an average day. Second-most among all age groups.
  2. Traditional media is used more than digital media, but there is a great difference between the younger and the older half of the group. The younger half is more apt to use digital media.
  3. Nine out of ten watch linear television on an average day.
  4. It is common to read the newspaper in this group. Men and women read the newspaper to an equal extent, but men read more digitally, while women read more in print.
  5. Half of the group use social networking services on an average day. Facebook is most popular.

*Comment about the time spent on media use: The different media forms are counted separately. This means that if a person spends one hour listening to music while reading the paper, it counts as two hours.

 

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KARIN ANDÉN