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4.2.1. The new generation and the new media

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In the last few years of expansion of the new media there are been a lot of changes, in particular in the younger generations. They have been the most affected by the new media and because they were born with it, their consumption is very different from older generations. The consumption has undergone a lot of changes from a few years back; this graphic is a first example:

Figure 16 Analyzing the influence of new media on newspapers businesses in Switzerland, the role of the government and the future of both media
The first observation is that every age group reads the newspaper less than in 1989. Another obvious observation is the fact that the age groups in which the difference is the most blatant are the young people. 18% of the group 30 to 44 years old reads less the press and that number climbs to 30% for the 14 to 29 years old. That number is particularly scary for newspapers.

They have lost more than half of their young readers in 15 years. This is a very clear illustration of the changes in the way youngsters consume the different types of media. The majority of them now exclusively uses new media more than all the other media, even television.

But the young people do more than just consuming the digital media nowadays. They are taking an active role of participation in it:

“Youth are more than just consumers of digital content; they are also active participants and creators of this new media culture, developing content, designing personal web sites, and launching their own online enterprises (Bunn, 2000; Sharp, 2000). The proliferation of youth-created web pages and message-board postings, and the popularity of IM among young all contribute to the booming use of the digital media for communication among youth.” Montgomery and Gottlieb-Robles, p. 132

For a lot of young people, simply consuming is not enough anymore. They want to take an active role, and the digital technology enables that. The process is the same for information as well.

The new media responds to a need for this generation. Now they have many tools to work with and have access to resources and possibilities that were not available before the emergence of the Internet.

The new media has here an enormous advantage over the newspapers. In fact the majority of the persons grow up using the digital technology over classical media. In the future this tendency will only become more important than it already is. It can be argued that young people will go back to the traditional press when they reach a certain age, but that cannot be proven yet. If they used new media for their entire youth, there is a big chance is that they will continue to do so. The general prognostic for the future is that the market share of new media will only grow bigger because of this familiarization between the new generation and the new media.

33 BDZV, Zeitungen 2009

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