The younger generation tend to rely on their network of friends and family more than the Internet to find out about what’s going on in the world of culture and entertainment, recent research shows. However, use of digital media in this area is on the rise among this group, especially in terms of frequency.

Avignon Forum: are Traditional Communication Channels Still the Most Popular in the Cultural Sphere?

While most of the younger generation make use of the Internet and social media to stay in touch with the world of culture and entertainment, more traditional channels still apparently predominate, indicates a survey* carried out by L'Atelier for the Forum d’Avignon**. While 87% of the youngsters interviewed said they use the Internet and 83% use social networks to find out what’s going on, and 84% cited television and radio as sources of information, fully 93% stated that they obtain such information via their immediate circle, a group comprising family, friends and work colleagues. “New digital media aren’t necessarily replacing more traditional channels except in terms of popularity or for specific uses,” suggests Philippe Torres, Head of Consulting and Digital Strategy at L'Atelier.

Different channels for different purposes

Nevertheless, use of digital channels seems to be on the rise in terms of frequency of use. The survey found that basic Internet channels, dubbed ‘Web 1’, topped the list among young people, with 47% citing their use, ahead of the 45% who mentioned the ‘family, friends and colleagues’ network. Although the social networks, known as ‘Web 2’ channels, still lag behind ‘Web 1’, use of Web 2 continues to grow. “Over time the order of preference is bound to change. The popularity of the Internet and social media is likely to grow in comparison with the more traditional ways of staying in touch with culture and entertainment,” reckons Philippe Torres. However, the order of preference changes when we move from obtaining information to sharing it. The survey reveals that 77% of the young people interviewed report using social media for sharing information, compared with 70% who say they use email.Nevertheless, the most popular channel among young people is, here again, the ‘family, friends and colleagues’ network, mentioned by 88% of those polled.

From the consumer generation to the creator generation

In contrast to the ‘pre-digital’ generation, today’s younger generation has developed its own habits and has a global attitude to culture and entertainment based on three ‘disruptive’ principles. This generation expects all information to be a) available on the Web, b) easily accessible and c) above all, free of charge. Some 94% of those polled see music as the most important cultural ‘content’, closely followed by video and films (92%) and photos and other pictures (91%). However, these young people do not simply remain spectators and consumers of culture and entertainment, because the tools now widely available on the Internet enable them to create their own materials. “We really need to find out whether there’s a relationship between content creation and the phenomenon of sharing,” underlines Philippe Torres. In fact more than 10% of the young people surveyed stated that they draw on digital cultural content to create their own new materials.

* The New Generation and Digital Culture (November 2012): online survey carried out by GfK, a global research agency, among 507 young people aged 15 - 25 in France, Germany, India, the US and South Korea in June 2012

** From 15-17 November 2012, Palais des Papes, Avignon, France