Most millennials and Gen Zs ‘use media for fashion tips’

Tuesday, May 30th, 2023 09:10 | By
Aga Khan University chairman Moyez Alibhai (left), CS Ministry of Information Eliud Owalo (centre) and Aga Khan University Graduate School of Media and Communications Interim Dean Nancy Booker during the launch of the media report in Nairobi yesterday. PD/GERALD ITHANA
Aga Khan University chairman Moyez Alibhai (left), CS Ministry of Information Eliud Owalo (centre) and Aga Khan University Graduate School of Media and Communications Interim Dean Nancy Booker during the launch of the media report in Nairobi yesterday. PD/GERALD ITHANA

Consumption of media by millennials and Gen Z is believed to have evolved owing to many factors including technological advances and cultural differences in age gaps. The type of content shared in mainstream media and what these generations want to read, watch and listen to are at loggerheads.

However, a recent study released yesterday by Aga Khan Graduate School of Media titled Media Consumption in an evolving digital world. The study focused on five thematic areas which include the identity of millennials and Gen Z in East Africa, the nature of content millennials and Gen Z consumes, media habits and behaviour of millennials and Gen Zs, platforms relied on to consume media content, and perception of legacy media.

The study centred around urban millennials and Gen Zs with 56 per cent of the respondents having attained college or university education, 38 per cent with secondary education, 66 per cent employed and 31 per cent unemployed.

The study found that millennials and Gen Z are more concerned with the manner in which they communicate and their dress code at 39 per cent, their family at 36 per cent, their media subscription at 25 per cent, their friends at 23 per cent, their money security at 23 per cent, where they live at 21 per cent, their understanding of current issues at 20 per cent among concerns.

Motivation to consume content

It also found that most young Kenyans are motivated to consume news to gain awareness of current affairs 52 per cent, to be knowledgeable at 46 per cent and to attain their personal goals in life at 39 per cent. Moreover, it found that 25 per cent of them seek news for entertainment.

The top three mentions by the respondents indicate that 61 per cent would want the media to cover more content on; making money, 56 per cent want content on how to become financially independent, and 37 per cent would desire content on saving money.  Millennials and Gen Zs rank their content consumption on whether it’s interesting, attractive, reliable and available, has relevance to them, affordability, and brevity.

Payment for content

On the payment for media content, a majority (52 per cent) of them have never paid for content and those who have (48 per cent) have paid for trendy news, sports news, general current affairs and political news. It also found that young people will be willing to pay for content in several key instances which includes brand closeness and association, content on careers and content on specialised knowledge that they can’t find anywhere else. 

Some of the factors that influence the choice of media consumption by Gen Z and millennials include what their peers are consuming, what the story is about, the reputation of the entity airing the story and the actors involved in the story.

In a panel sitting during the launch of the study consisting of key players from mainstream media most of them agreed with the findings. Zubeida Kananu, the president of the Editors Guild reiterated the importance of understanding millennials and Gen Zs and how they consume media content.  “First up, let’s talk about the importance of understanding what millennials and Gen Z want to consume. They’re not just scrolling mindlessly. They’re seeking content that speaks to their interests and passions. Whether it’s travel, entrepreneurship, fashion, music and gaming, they want it all, and they want it now,” said Kananu.

She continued, “In today’s fast-paced digital world, media organisations face the challenge of capturing and retaining the attention of millennials and Gen Z, who are always on the go and craving engaging tasteful and appealing content. Traditional news outlets, for example, are witnessing a decline in readership and viewership as digital natives prefer accessing news through online platforms. It is because of these digital disruptions that many media houses have resorted to cost cutting, retrenchment and staff going for months without pay due to financial constraints.”

Yvvone Okwara, also in the panel observed that legacy media houses should be digital facing when creating their content. She added that Gen Zs are individualistic and looking for the content that speak to their needs. “We have menu for news but how about news that meets the needs (of Gen Z and millennials) because they want to know about how to progress in life, and even how to make money.  We have to consider what they want in terms of making money and meeting their individualistic goals. Therefore, we have to think on how to categorise and classify news,” she said.

Mbugua Ng’ang’a, managing director People Daily who was also in the panel, observed that Gen Z and millennials maybe paying for content access by buying bundles and not necessary content, querying the study findings on whether the young really pay for content. Delonis Rono, a marketing and branding consultant weighed in on the issue of payment of media content saying that Gen Zs and millennials are likely to pay for content which resonates with them. “As millennials, I want content that speaks to me as a person. I would pay for content that will teach me other than paying just for news. Why should I pay for it? I will pay for something I am interested in,” Rono said.

Eric Latif, a radio presenter said legacy media needs to wake up to realities of new media, that it should not be stuck in the old ways of doing things. 

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