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Nielsen Research Shows Differences Between Boomers, Millennials

NEW YORK—Nielsen has released a report entitled “The Me Generation Meets Generation ME,” which explore the media consumption habits of the Boomers and Millennials, two sought-after audiences for ad dollars representing approximately the same number of consumers.

Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) control 70 percent of disposable income in the United States, in contrast to Millenials (born between 1977 and 1994) who are increasingly burdened by student loans.

Boomers are more likely to use a desktop computer, have a landline and watch traditional TV, although their tablet adoption doubled between 2011 and 2102. They spend 174 hours per month watching TV (Millennials watch 107 hours) and are the dominant audience in 16 of the top 25 shows. Boomers prefer characters they can relate to and light-hearted, clever humor. Men of this age group prefer wit and dialogue-based plots, while women show a preference for family-friendly humor and sentimental themes.

Three-quarters of Millennials own a smartphone, 73 percent own a laptop and 68 percent own a game console, and the No. 1 TV show for Boomers isn’t even in the top 30 for Millennials. This group likes off-beat, saracastic, slapstick humor and like their older counterparts prefer characters of a similar age. Visuals are keen to attracting their attention. In terms of story lines, males like quirky or sport-focused entertainment, while females gravitate to aspirational themes (like celebrities, fun).

Nielsen also says its NeuroFocus research gives insight into how the changes that come with age affect the efficacy of communication. This is most marked beginning in the mid-50s, when distraction suppression mechanisms are weakened.