TV rules the waves but for how long?




A recent survey on media consumption trends in Trinidad & Tobago, commissioned by advertising and marketing firm, cmb, has placed television and radio at the top of overall preference; however, among the younger generation and more affluent socioeconomic strata, digital alternatives like social media juggernaut Facebook are beginning to gain considerable ground.

cmb designed a research framework and partnered with data analytics firms Lucent Research Ltd and Sacoda Serv Ltd to gather pertinent insight and, more importantly, hard data to evaluate industry assumptions about current trends and preferences.

Over eight articles (including this), cmb will examine why television and radio are still so appealing to local audiences and therefore to marketers; why it is imperative that local businesses tap into social media and other online platforms to interact with their customers in a common space; and how socio-economic status and gender also play a role in determining media decisions. The research also gives unique insight about usage and attitudes towards credit cards and mobile data plans – all important elements of the customer evolution.

Improved understanding of media consumption patterns will dictate the future of the industry, as advertising and media placements will be formulated using these insights.

The survey differentiates between “most noticed media” and “most preferred media,” highlighting a subtle yet significant pattern in media consumption. Most noticed media refers to those platforms most readily and easily perceived – a more passive but highly influential form of consumption. Most preferred denotes to a more active process – media consciously chosen by the consumer.

cmb structured the survey with a focus on extracting the most salient information about the local consumer market’s interaction with different media, advising its research partners, who conducted more than 900 interviews over a four-month, period from July to November 2016. Respondents represented a sample of people best indicative of the population according to the latest Census data as determined by age, income level, education level and gender.

An overwhelming 58.4 percent of participants named television their “most noticed media,” followed by 44.3 percent for radio. Newspapers appear in third place, with  31.9 percent, with social media juggernaut Facebook in third at 41.4 percent.

Other social media platforms showing significant reach included YouTube (18.5 percent); Instagram (15.7 percent); and Twitter (5.2 percent). Online media captured 24.2 percent of the audience, while “out of home” advertising – billboards, bus stops and bus wraps, for example – regularly caught the attention of 21.4 percent of respondents. Magazines failed to have a significant impact.

The most preferred trends followed the same pattern, with most respondents highlighting television (62.6 percent), followed by radio (47.9 percent), Facebook (40.8 percent), and newspapers (34.1 percent). (See graph below.)

Interestingly, among the 18-35 age group- the Millennial generation- the largest age demographic sampled, Facebook was the most noticed medium at 57.3 percent, with television at 47.3 percent, while radio came in third with 39 percent; as observed in other markets, newspapers have a lower penetration with this group, attracting15.5 percent of the responses.

Socioeconomic and education levels also seem to have  an influence on media consumption patterns. Those respondents in the A/B social grade (people who have completed secondary school and tertiary education) named Facebook (53.4 percent) as their most noticed media, just edging out television (52.4 percent), radio (45.8 percent), and newspapers (31.4 percent). Television  was the  A/B group’s most preferred medium (55.4 percent), with Facebook coming in second (50.4 percent), followed by radio (42.3 percent), and newspapers (30.1 percent).

Among those in the C1/C2/D grade (including individuals with partially completed secondary education or vocational training), television had a significant lead, with 59.5 percent naming this medium among its most noticed, followed by radio at 41.9 percent, Facebook at 38.6 percent and newspapers at 31.9 percent.

Television’s overall success, then, appears to be its universal appeal to all demographics, but it is driven significantly by lower income/less educated individuals. Radio, which had a strong showing in most demographics, may owe its prominence to rush hour traffic and portability, as most respondents said they listen to radio in the car during morning and evening drive time (peak) periods.

The survey’s findings confirm long held assumptions in the local advertising and marketing industry that digital media –  particularly Facebook- has become a fundamental conduit between brands and their customers, even as it underscores the value of traditional media in a market like Trinidad & Tobago.


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