NEWS9 November 2016

Time Inc launches The Stream youth panel for millennial insight

Media News Trends UK

UK – Three quarters of 18- to 34-year-olds do not identify with the millennial label according to research from publishing giant, Time Inc.

Young people

The New Mainstream research project identifies six segments in the market, looking at their influences and how they interact, to give marketers and advertisers better understanding of this age group so they move away from treating them as one homogeneous millennial group.

The company is also launching a new youth panel called The Stream to challenge how this audience is perceived and offer its commercial partners the change to collaborate with Time Inc to improve accuracy in targeting millennials.

Romano Sidoli, managing director of Time Inc. UK’s innovation group, which includes brands such as the NME, Look and Now brands, said: “The danger of advertisers not thinking about this audience in the right way is that they are at risk of their campaigns only reaching the very edges of the group, or missing them completely. Millennials are often perceived as one audience instead of the six, individual groups we are seeing and we want to spell the end of that broad brush approach. 

“We’ve launched The Stream to give advertisers the power to move away from campaigns that use myths or outdated concepts about the audience as the basis of their targeting.”

The research was qualitative and quantitative and carried out by d.fferento/ogy. Quantitative was a nationally representative group of 2,000 18- to 34-year-olds. Qualitative was conducted via two 2.5 hour co-creation labs in Leeds and London with a total of 30 participants and a 50% split of male and female participants.

Contradicting current perceptions of millennials, family ( 67%) and financial security ( 49%) were the most important, closely followed by friends ( 48%). Most think their generation will be the first to be more financially worse off than their parents ( 68%) and almost half ( 48%) prioritise responsibility over pleasure, considering themselves to be mostly rational compared to hedonistic ( 42%).

The six audience segments the New Mainsteam has identified are:


  • Responsible Rebels ( 10%) – mainly aged 25-34 ( 56%) with almost half being parents ( 43%). They are career-focussed, earn the highest income of the segments and are high spenders. They have a broad range of interests and they follow experts, media brands and friends on social media. 
  • Urban Optimists ( 18%) – mainly aged 25-34 ( 61%) similar to the Responsible Rebels, Urban Optimists have a high income and high spend compared with other millennials. This group like their discovery to be curated by trusted sources ( 43%) and while they are keen to discover new brands, they trust those they are already purchasing from. 
  • Troubled Traditionalists ( 23%) – mainly female ( 67%), have medium income, enjoy eating out and invest in experiences. Troubled Traditionalists are less likely to follow brands on social media, prefer to do their own research or recommendations from family or friends. They want honest, knowledgeable and entertaining content.
  • Sofa Surfers ( 22%) – mainly aged 25-34 ( 71%) with a lower income and many are unemployed ( 12%). They are low spenders with few interests. This group is the least likely to interact with brands – it tends to be friends they engage with on social media – or seek out new consumer brands.
  • Hashtag Heroes ( 11%) – the youngest of the personas, those aged 18-21 ( 44%) are most likely to be a Hashtag Hero than any other group and 60% are female. Typically students or at the start of their career, they are most interested in music, tech and eating out, spending their money mainly on socialising. Entertaining content is what draws them in and they tend to follow brands and experts on social media. 
  • Crowdsourcing Consumers ( 16%) – this audience tends to be male ( 54%), have a medium income but are quite big spenders. Direct and authoritative content will engage them, with playful tone also piquing their interest.