Matt Cooper, Manager Strategy at Deloitte Consulting

Submitted by: Shareena Patel 17/12/2015

As someone who works on a variety of media and telecom and technology companies within Deloitte, I found working on this year’s Deloitte Media Consumer report fascinating. The report helps a wide variety of industries understand how and why media consumption habits have changed over the past eight to ten years. This is a topic that increasingly touches on more than just traditional media and telecom industries, since advertisers and brand managers want to know how and when people are doing certain activities and how they are changing.

"Nearly two-thirds of those aged 16-24 have never purchased an e-book and only one in four has bought one in the past year"

As well as social and mobile, we had a section on print, and what we found was that for the millennials, they all really value and appreciate print – especially physical print books – far more than we expected. Nearly two-thirds of those aged 16 to 24 have never purchased an e-book and only one  in four has bought one in the past year. Part of that is functional. For a student textbook, it’s far easier and arguably superior if it’s your own physical textbook to annotate and put your little notes in than an e-book. They also found that having grown up with multiple screens, they actually quite enjoyed and appreciated the focus that reading a book has. The fact that a book doesn’t have a screen is actually quite welcome.

One thing they also like about physical books is the ability to build up a bookshelf, a library of books you can refer to, pick up, scan and put down easily. It’s about being able to show your personality, and they appreciated that a bookshelf is a way you can do that. So when someone comes to your house and looks at your bookshelf, they get a better snapshot of who you are. The millennials felt that this is something fundamentally lacking from e-books as a medium. While there are occasions it can be convenient to have an e-book, such as commuting on a bus, in an ideal world they would like to have both the physical and e-book versions when they bought them, to give them the flexibility to choose.

Another interesting thing that came out of our report was that newspaper commentary is far more highly regarded than online commentary. If you want a serious opinion or a more in-depth perspective on a topic, people regard newspapers as more likely to provide that than online or social. Our respondents still pick up newspapers in order to get expert commentary on a particular topic, with 42% of readers of print newspapers doing so to get the best expert commentary or reviews of political issues. Tha compares to just 12% of Twitter newsreaders.

+ For more information on the Deloitte Media Consumer report, go to www.deloitte.co.uk/mediaconsumer