The Media Democracy Survey, a first of its kind commissioned by Deloitte in India, provides some interesting insights about consumers' interaction with technology, response to advertising, mobile adoption, social media and internet usage, as well as expectations about the future.
The survey, carried out by the research firm in late 2009, covered metros and cities such as Bengaluru, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Patna, Surat and Indore. Around 2,000 people from the upper and middle classes were interviewed face-to-face for the purpose.
Consumers between the ages of 14-69 were taken into consideration. These were further divided into the following age brackets: Trailing Millennials = 14-19 years; Leading Millennials = 20-25 years; Generation X = 26-42 years; Boomers = 43-61 years; Matures = 62-69 years.
Sources of entertainment
Among the various sources of entertainment -- which include television, radio, films, newspapers, magazines and the internet -- around 92 per cent of the population, across age groups, rates television as the favourite medium. This may be because television has a wider reach, compared to the other mediums.
The second most preferred medium is newspapers. Unlike Western countries, Indians read the daily newspaper with utmost interest and sincerity. Almost 63 per cent of Generation X and 68 per cent of Boomers go through their daily newspapers religiously.
The younger generation prefers going to movies, listening to music and the radio; their inclination towards technology is decipherable too. The current trends suggest that men are more technology-driven compared to women.
The media in advertising
There are innumerable choices in selecting a medium for advertising products and services. In this fast moving world, where consumer preferences change within minutes, clients face a tough task in selecting the platform to advertise on, in order to grab the maximum eyeballs.
The survey found that advertisements seen on television make the most impact -- 98 per cent of Matures and 96 per cent of Boomers acknowledge the influence of TV commercials.
Next come advertisements in newspapers, which influence 95 per cent of Matures and 92 per cent of Boomers. The third most influential medium for advertising is magazines. Around 35 per cent of Leading Millennials are also attracted towards advertisements on the internet. On the other hand, the medium of radio is becoming a favourite among advertisers.
Media products: ownership and preference
India being an emerging market and one of the fastest growing economies in the world; the purchasing power of consumers has grown by leaps and bounds. Mobile phones, televisions, DVD players and radios are the top four media equipment owned by the majority.
Around 84 per cent of people own mobile phones. The younger lot seems to favour desktop PCs, Macs, iPods, smart phones and laptops; while the older lot has digital cameras and webcams.
Also, flat panel televisions are preferred to the old-fashioned box television. However, the survey suggests that 77 per cent of households have the old box television.
Activities on the internet include emailing, messaging, reading news, seeking information, online gaming, watching/listening to content, using web cams and audio chatting.
Leading Millennials in India makes the most of the internet, as compared to any other age group. Almost 45 per cent of them use the internet for emailing friends and family. They also rule the roost in using webcams, online gaming, purchasing products and maintaining one's own website, uploading photos and videos on the net, along with social networking and writing blogs. Men take a lead over women in using the internet.
It is commonly observed in India that newspaper stories, TV shows, books, magazines, music and movies become hot topics for discussion at home, in the workplace or among friends.
Newspaper stories are widely discussed; 39 per cent of Boomers, followed by 36 per cent of Generation X and 35 per cent of Leading Millennials participate in discussions around newspaper articles.
Next come television shows, which are widely discussed by all age brackets. Music, movies and advertisements are the next three top subjects for discussions, where Leading Millennials lead the pack.
Future media attitudes and expectations
The newer technologies raise expectations among all age groups, irrespective of gender. People familiar with these technologies wish their devices could provide them features such as GPS, to enable them to locate friends, shops or hotels.
Other expectations are music and video portability, getting product info by scanning barcode on the mobile phone and online availability of books and newspapers. Many have shown interest in 3D televisions, and in technology that enables them to buy products on TV, featured in commercials.
Trailing Millennials are more interested in new technologies, vis-à-vis other age groups.
The survey of 'trends in media and technology sector' already has presence in countries such as USA, Brazil, Germany, UK, Korea and Japan. India becomes the seventh nation where the Media Democracy Survey was conducted. This survey will be repeated on an annual basis.