Media opportunities…Change is bound to happen! – +55 yrs: We are traditional media

1019 people were surveyed during the last 6 weeks by my students Digital Culture (Cross Media Management @ University College Karel de Grote – Antwerp) on their (digital) media ownership and usage. Today I’m launching the fourth part of my daily updates with the results of this survey. The first parts are the results per age category, my 6th and last update will contain overall results!

Part 4 – +55 yrs: We are traditional media

This generation of +55 didn’t grew up in a digital and connected society, and this shows in the result of digital media ownership. Only 58% owns a PC, 59% owns a LapTop, 16% owns a tablet and 25% owns a smart phone. A small minority of 9% says to own all 4 devices.
It’s a fact that this media usage will have an influence on the traditional media use! Let’s have a closer look how!

We are newspapers
67% of the responding +55 says they read a daily newspaper, while only 10% never reads a newspaper. It’s obvious this generation grew up with traditional newspapers.  90% of those daily newspaper readers (n=67) prefer a traditional paper version of their daily over a digital version. When looking into other reading intensity categories I see similar (or even higher) numbers…This generation loves the paper feel.

We love magazines
These babyboomers still love reading a magazine.  53% says they read a magazine on weekly basis, while only 19% admits to never read a magazine. Needles to say they prefer a paper magazine over a digital one. 95% of those people who read magazines (n=81) claims to read a paper version. No surprise, if you ask me!

Television is our close friend
80% watches television every day. With only 1% who don’t watch television, this is a generation which keeps its television close.  99% (n=99) only watches television on a television set, with almost no distraction.  Although this isn’t a highly connected generation 30% (n=58) claims to use a tablet or smart phone while watching television (so again 1/3 of this generation divides its attention over both watching television and mobile devices.  Only a small part of this generation connect through social media with television channels or shows (only 27% say they do, with 62% not being active on social media at all!)

Own survey –

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Posted in Flat Business, Flat Education
38 comments on “Media opportunities…Change is bound to happen! – +55 yrs: We are traditional media
  1. Helsen Jonas says:

    It really amazes me how many people of 55 + own a tablet! 16%! In my friendgroup, I know, maybe, 3 people with a tablet… It has definitely something to do with money-issues and the easy- handling of tablets ( which is important for ‘older’ people.) I found it interesting that they merely use their devices watching television. So they like the commercials? The use of traditional papers and magazines isn’t a big surprise.

  2. Mª Teresa Poyo says:

    I must admit I am very surprised with the obtained results about the ownership of digital devices. Around 60% of people of +55yrs say they have a computer / laptop… I was thinking about my grandma while I was reading the article and the only thing she owns ( and struggles with) is a simple Nokia to call and recieve text messages…Maybe I should reconsider her Christmas gift this year…!

  3. haansz says:

    It is really surprising to see these high percentages of mobile devices among the elder people. If I compare this to my own family I can only say these results are reflecting reality. My grandparents own a laptop and even took computerclasses at the age of 75! We live in a digital world.

  4. Lina Chaoui says:

    When I started to read this text, I was really curious at the results of the tests. ‘Cause I know that my grandparents don’t have a tablet or a smartphone. Just a cellphone for work and a computer to send mails and look some new recipes to cook etc..

    About the article itself. It really don’t surprise me that 55+ read the newspaper on paper, not a tablet.
    80% of them watch TV, and all of them watch it on a real television, that’s a high number. Maybe because when they where younger, they couldn’t afford one and are now enjoying the fact that they can now and that they don’t need ‘the new stuff’.

  5. Maud says:

    I was very curious about the content of this article. I was shocked about the 58% who owns a pc. I think that there are also a big difference between people who are above the 70 years old an the people under the 60 years old. When I look in my family, the older people who had a office job they can work with a computer, but the people who worked in the construction branche they probably can’t deal with the pc.
    It really don’t suprise me that this group prefere to read newspapers on paper, they don’t need it digital if they are now satisfied!

  6. Jassin Uddin says:

    It surprises me that so many elder people are entering the multimedia world, but it is actually not so strange after all. Pensioners have more time than working people and while they used to go fishing or playing cards they now explore the modern way of spending time. In fact things like playing cards or chess are now played on computers so we can even say that computers are made for people like my grandparents. They just need time to adapt to these new devices, but that’s just what they own the most from all generations: time.

  7. Vince Campforts says:

    I can’t imagine my grandparents using a pc or smartphone. In my mind they are sitting at the dinner table reading the newspaper or doing crossword puzzles in a magazine, whilst yelling at me because I watch to mutch television.

  8. Max Heylen-Buelens says:

    It’s obvious that the 55+ people that were surveyed, generally prefer the paper version of their favourite magazine or newspaper. This is the way they have been doing it their whole lives, so why would they change it? Anyway I am pleasantly surprised that this generation does an effort to be part of our digital society. As 80% watches television every day, I think tv might have much influence, and this might ‘push them’ towards the digital world.

  9. lislot says:

    These numbers don’t surprise me at all. These people just hold on to what they have known their whole lives, such as newspapers, magazines and television. I do believe that those who have a tablet or a smartphone, are people who need it for their jobs. Just because it’s necessary for them to check their email regularly.

  10. Denis Vandepitte says:

    I certainly didn’t expect these results. In my experience, older people and digital devices speak an entirely different language. My grandmother only owns a regular cellphone, and it’s an everyday struggle for her. I’m shocked that almost 10% owns a smartphone, laptop/pc AND tablet, not in a bad way though.

  11. adilkdg says:

    I have worked for a while for a telecomunication company.
    i mostly had to contact the segment of 55y+.
    As for my past experience i can say that most of them did have a laptop or pc, but as for tablets or smartphones, they barrely knew what it was.
    So you can say that the stats really are unexpected for me that so many seniors are so in with the new technology.

  12. I noticed that the Tablet serves as a step before a laptop for older people, I participated at the survey and had a total of 6 elderly (55+) and 4 of them only had a tablet because they thought a laptop would be to hard to use… very surprising…

  13. Yannick Vercauteren says:

    I’m actually surprised how 58% owns a PC, 59% owns a Laptop, 16% owns a tablet and 25% owns a smart phone. My parents own nothing of that. My mom has a PC on her work but at home she only watches TV. She doesn’t have a smartphone either. My dad is willing to learn all this stuff. Recently I’ve taught him how to search stuff on my iMac. He does that because in the near future he will get an iPad from his work. (I’m also happy about that :P)

  14. Gabriela Dos Santos says:

    I’m surprised with the amount of tablets owners. I really didn’t expect that they would reach more than 10%. Maybe it is interesting to link the results with their academic level. From what I see on my environment there is a strong correlation between highly-educated 55+ and new technologies.

  15. Kevin Velghe says:

    The results don’t surprise me at all, 55-65 should be a different age group in my opinion.
    My parents are both 55+ and they both own a tablet, they read the news on their laptops, my dad has a smartphone and my mom even streams her favorite tv series on the iPad. They have a lot of friends who have the same products at home. But I think the results are “dumbed down” by the fact that a lot of these interviewed people are 65+, and to me, these people are a completely different age group!

  16. Didier Van Hove says:

    I find it awkward; in the beginning they were sceptical about it. And now, a few years later, because most in their friend group starts with it, or is active on it, they convinced them to use it also. It’s strange to see that your parents or on Facebook or just at some point they use a computer. I think most of the time they also don’t have the slightest idea what they’re all doing on it; they click on everything that pops up. Or like sending each other the dumbest e-mails, it’s more like one big spam party sometimes.

  17. Yolanda Van Mechelen says:

    I can only agree with this post. I see it daily in my environment, my grandparents give me weird looks when I go on my Blackberry and tell them the weather forecast for the next week, it seems surreal to them that there’s no weather man on the television explaining it to them.

    It is surprising though that 10% owns a tablet, I guess they’ll be sooner around 60 than 70. Although I think they’ll still prefer a paper version of the magazine or paper, just because they grew up with it and have trouble letting go of their habits and embrace the new technologies.

  18. pauwelsnick says:

    It isn’t really surprise me to see these high percentages of mobile devices. If I compare this to my own grand mother I can only say these results are reality. My grandmother own a laptop and haves also a smart phone. She’s also on facebook and she use facebook also on her smart phone. A lot of old people goes with the time

  19. Monaa says:

    When I read the results I am still suprised. The numbers that show us how many people older than 55 own a laptop or a tablet are more than I expected. In my environment the people older than 55 don’t own their own laptop.

    My mom is a little older than 55 and she doesn’t have her own laptop or tablet. She doesn’t even know how to work it. Only like a week ago she started to get the hang of it with using my old laptop. A smartphone is also nothing for her although she does look suprised when I can show her the things she cant do on my smartphone. But she will need to start learning how it all works because in the future it will all change and then she will need to know how to use it.

  20. alejandro navalon says:

    My own experience has shown me that people over 55 years usually is not really used to use smart phones or tablets but everybody i know of that age use laptops, but they only use it to communicate with their friends and family. But i have to say that when you try to explain how the laptop works and how to use internet and all that kind of things for some of them it’s really hard to understand and they give up.

  21. Antje says:

    59% owns a laptop? It means every second person over 55+. I just can imagine that the high percentage of digital devices is just possible because it is about +55. I can image that person from 55-58/59 maybe posses a Laptop and that’s the reason why the high percentage is that unbelievable high. Persons over 60 and a Laptop? I think use more traditional media. But still I have experienced that the grandma of my friend in Italy uses Whatsapp. But for me this is an exception from the normal +55.

  22. Geoff Hendrickx says:

    These percentages didn’t surprise me. The elder people were born with a paper version of everything. When I see my grandparents they always have the newspaper in the paper version. They also have a laptop but when I say you can read the newspaper online they prefer the old version because it’s easier for them.

  23. Stefaan Tiepermann says:

    So there are 55+ – … that own a tablet and a smartphone? That’s quite surprising! Did not expect that at all. I don’t know many people in this age category so I can’t really make up examples in my mind but I think it is absolutely understandable the 55+ love to read words on paper. Whether is the newspaper or a magazine. They, like the article already points out, grew up with this. The didn’t know anything else. But apparently some do realize there’s more than only paper versions. I think it is absolutely remarkable.

  24. Shahin Koobasi says:

    The eldery don’t use new media, and tablets and such because they don’t know what it is. My parents and 1 older uncle and aunt asked me to teach them stuff about the internet, social media like facebook and such. Now they’re hooked and always want to learn more. That’s why my dad bought a smartphone and my uncle an iPad.

  25. Annelies Mampaey says:

    I’m really surprised that so many old people have a tablet and a smart phone. When I look at my grandparents, they wouldn’t even know how to use those things. I’m very happy that they still read paper magazines and newspapers. Otherwise I really needed to push my grandparents to buy a tablet. One grandmother is on Facebook but she doesn’t really understand what she needs to do on that site. The only thing she does on Facebook is playing games. My other grandparents are afraid of the computer. They didn’t experience the evolution of technology as much as my parents and I did.

  26. Devin Hendrickx says:

    I find these numbers to be not surprising at all. You have the part of elderly people who don’t want to go out of their comfort zone and are already happy with the fact they can text their grandchildren, which is fine by me. And you have the (smaller) part who likes to go out of their comfort zone, like to try new things. Try out tablets for example, just because they find it fun to try new stuff. I think these numbers are going to change but not that drastically as you might think. I can still see it in my group of friends. You have the part that have all the new digital equipment and those who occasionally improve the standard stuff they already have, like their cellphone or their laptop. Just so they can be up to date with school and friends. They have no desire to add new things to their arsenal, which is still fine by me.

  27. Matti Verhaegen says:

    If I compare these average numbers with my own grandparents, I think my grandparents are serious from the old generation. My grandmother has a simple mobile phone, and she has still problems to use it. My grandfather is even worse than that! He doesn’t have a mobile phone, he watches only TV and reads the newspaper. If he would have a mobile phone, it would be too difficult for him to use it. Let alone he would have a pc, laptop or tablet! I find it cute that my grandparents want to stay in the ‘good old days’, but times are changing and it’s sometimes frustrating that we can’t reach them when they aren’t at home!

  28. Those results are really surprising me. My grandparents don’t own a smartphone, tablet, desktop or a laptop… They really don’t need all this stuff because they can barely handle their mobile phone. The advantages of those devices are a big question mark for them.

  29. Jesse ten Hoor says:

    I have agree with the above comment from Jassin Uddin. I think tablet manufacturers (or even inventers) specifically marketed their products with elderly people in mind. Like some other people already said, for elderly people a tablet is a handy device, much more so than a computer of smartphone. Furthermore, I think that grandparents shouldn’t be mentioned too much with regards to this survey outcome, because the age group of 55+ consist of parents too. My father, for example, is 56 years old but not that old-fashioned yet (even though he is as slow and stubborn as can be when using his laptop;).

  30. It is Bossche says:

    The fact that people over 55 have a tablet sounds strange but then again it makes sense. It has a bigger screen than a smartphone; making it much more readable.

  31. Andy Schnell says:

    My parents don’t have a smartphone, no tablet, no laptop. They just have a normal mobile and a tv. They are totally happy with that. If they want something special or want to search something in the internet they ask us (kids) to do it. So they don’t have a direct contact with the new technologies but inderectly they’re using it.

  32. Ahmed EL Bitar says:

    i do not think that we need tablet, i phon or smartphon. we have it becouse we leave in a social world which commnicate just oon this way.bit i know alot of happy people which do not have and do not need it.if we go back to the past we will find that the people able to communicate whith each other more social whithout these the people tend to share there own emotion on there wall but not with the real people oon the street.

  33. Karin Lanz says:

    I think it’s amazing, digital / mobile is used by all age groups and all kind of people. What else is there which has an influence on so many people? The most amazing thing for me is, that it’s used so widely by the elderly people who are believed to stick with the already known and don’t like changes. Think this development shows the opposite!

  34. Christian Graf says:

    I guess tablets for older people is good idea, because they easy handle with, can zoom the windows and it`s even mobil. They don`t need any big computer skills, maybe a grandson wich upload the apps or organize the window. So I think tablets or other digital technologies have a lot advantages for old people.

  35. Nicolai Lindel says:

    Even though the older generation is not as connected as the younger generation is, they are getting an easier access to modern technology by improved user interfaces. I was able to observe this development in my private environment. A tablet is very easy to handle and gives this generation the opportunity to find an easy way of using modern media/ technology.
    But still, TV and newspapers remain the most important information sources for them.

  36. Alexander Ehret says:

    Every person grew up with different sorts of technologies. This is influencing the habits of every generation. Whilst the older generation is familiar with printeded medias, TV and radio the younger generation prefers modern media like the internet. Though the older generation might be used to “traditional” technologies and media it is a fact that they still need to be connected to modern technologies like the internet. My grandmother is a good exampel for this development. She is mainly reading newspapers and watching Tv but she gets more and more in touch with the internet.

  37. Philipp Notheis says:

    I can confirm also that older people prefer to read the newspaper instead of reading the news on devices. My parents use a tablet because it is easier to handle, and they get a quicker overview.They come more and more in contact with the internet. My parents surf and write emails. The number of 58% will increase… for sure!

  38. Mat Kappeler says:

    I feel like the older generation also would like to be up to date with the newest technology. But up to now they were really afraid to use it. Because they heard about viruses, crashes etc. With the tablets there is a completely new system on the market. It is more intuitive usable and it is almost impossible to break down the system. For this reason I’m thinking that tablets will be a great product for all generations.

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