Reader Survey Results: Millennials Continue To Dominate

The 2015 Reader Segmentation Survey results are in and just like the prior year, Millennial readers continue to comprise the largest readership segment. Having said that, they did lose a sliver of ground to Gen X and Baby Boomer readers. We’ll examine the full results soon but today’s post is going to dive into results from the 25-34 age group and highlight any changes from the previous year.

Readership Share & Occupation

Although Millennials didn’t experience as large of a gain as the previous year and dropped a single percent point in overall readership, they still comprised 15 percent more than Gen-Xers.


More than half of all Millennial readers work as arts administrators and of those, nearly 2/3 work in the orchestra field. The number of Millennial executives shot up this year while those working in marketing, development, and education departments remained strong. One new trend were Millennials identifying as other, they tended to have positions that worked across multiple departments. It will be curious to see if this is the beginning of a new jack-of-all-trades arts admin.

Value, Satisfaction, & Engagement

Among all sections of the survey, this area changed the most. Compared to Gen X and Baby Boomers, Millennials continue to read more culture blogs every day although that gap narrowed from last year. Likewise, Millennial readers placed less overall value on all forms of media for obtaining cultural news and their satisfaction levels fell as well. Culture blogs continued to dominate as the go-to source, but it still dropped more than 20 points from last year. The closest outlet to blogs, online newspapers, suffered worse with a substantial drop. The only segment to fare slightly better than the previous year was radio. Even though compared to last year, more millennial readers found it an important resource for cultural news, only a quarter of Millennial readers found it a worthwhile source. The remaining outlets, television, discussion forums, and print newspapers, continued to generate extremely low satisfaction rates.
This is another area where Millennial readers shifted their habits. A nearly even share of readers indicated they communicate with friends and colleagues anywhere from once a week to one a month while nearly 1 out of 10 communicate at least once a day. Compared to last year, Gen-X and Baby Boomer engagement is far more frequent and nearly at the same level with Millennial peers. In the end, Millennials are communicating with peers a little less frequently while other generations are communicating more often.

But Why?

Facts, integrity, and coverage of recent events trumped one of last year’s strongest reasons that drew Millennials to culture blogs: personality. Much like the previous year, these results were similar to other age groups.

And it wouldn’t be fun without a big, infographic to help tie everything together…

Full Infographic All About Millennials 2015-small.png

download the full size infographic

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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6 thoughts on “Reader Survey Results: Millennials Continue To Dominate”

  1. Very interesting results some of which are what I would have expected (move away from traditional news outlets) and some that surprised me (generalist trend vs. specialization). Just curious about how large your sample size was for the survey. Nicely done…the information contained is well organized and easy to digest. Dileep

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