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Report: Baby Boomers Watch Online Video, Buy DVD

9 Sep, 2008 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Once considered primarily the domain of teens and young adults, online video and social networking sites have become a target for baby boomer Web users (ages 44 to 61), according to a new report.

In its study “Entertainment Trends in America,” The NPD Group found more than half of all Web users (57%) visited social networking sites, including LinkedIn, Facebook and MySpace, in past three months. While younger Web users (13- to 34-year olds) are more likely to visit social networking sites, the study found that baby boomers who visited social networking sites did so an average of eight times over the previous three months.

“There’s an ongoing misperception that certain Web activities are the exclusive domain of young people,” said Russ Crupnick, entertainment industry analyst for The NPD Group. “That misperception could cost the entertainment industry in terms of lost opportunities to target valuable consumers.”

The report, based on data compiled from 11,000 consumer respondents, found that increased online video and social networking by boomers actually increased sales of packaged media, including movie DVDs and music CDs. On average, baby boomers who streamed video were 15% more likely than their non-streaming counterparts to buy a CD, DVD or movie ticket.

More than 97% of respondents used e-mail and surfed the Web, while 80% had shopped online in the past three months. Teens and young adults reported less online shopping activity than older consumers, perhaps due to the fact that many teens did not have access to credit cards, according to the report.

“As more consumers of all ages spend more time online, there's potentially going to be less time for them to consume entertainment content in traditional ways,” Crupnick said. “These findings underscore the growing need for entertainment companies to promote and distribute digital entertainment content online, in order to keep pace with the changing needs and desires of consumers of all ages.”

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