The consumer relationship—the connection that bonds millennials with the brands, organizations, and publications they support—can make or break a company’s future. Norty Cohen, the CEO and founder of digital advertising agency Moosylvania, argues that, “millennials are not just consumers—they're friends. They trust friends who listen to them, are open and honest, remember their names, are consistent and stay true to who they are.” Before diving in to the crème de la crème of media companies that millennials devour on a daily basis, it’s important to unravel what they base their preferences on. Brands and publishers understand that they must communicate in a way that resonates with their target audience. But to succeed with millennials, companies may need to develop an even deeper and more personal relationship. Millennials identified significant components that establish their bond with favored companies and brands, including High-Quality products (75%), Would Recommend this Brand (61%), Fits Their Personality (53%), Social Responsibility (40%), Shares Similar Interests (39%) and Says Important Things (31%).
The millennial generation is on a unique journey marked by logos, brands, trends, habits, likes, dislikes, and impulses which today’s top millennial media moguls engage with every waking minute. Through its affinity for technology and mobile apps, the generation has transformed distribution and consumption of media. So what media companies hold the hearts of millennials today?
Leading the millennial media nom-list is BuzzFeed, with roughly 39 million millennial visitors to its digital and mobile platforms. BuzzFeed is an American internet news media company that emphasizes entertainment and social news.
2. The New York Times
The New York Times has a total average digital, mobile, and print readership of over 64 million, 1/3 of whom are millennials. The New York Times is a daily newspaper based in New York City.
3. Vice Media, Inc.
Vice is a media company and digital content creation studio that operates in 36 countries. Its digital channels include: vice.com, VICE News, Noisey, The Creators Project, i-D, MUNCHIES, VICE Sports, THUMP, Fightland, and Broadly.
4. The New Yorker
The New Yorker is an American magazine of cultural commentary and criticism, in the form of essays, fiction, satire, cartoons, and poetry. Millennials make up 1/3 of the visitors to The New Yorker’s webpage.
5. Elite Daily
Elite Daily is American online news platform for today’s trending topics. The media site’s slogan is “The Voice of Generation Y.”
Refinery29 is an American-based style and beauty website that follows a newsletter format. The site is broken down into six sections: "Fashion", "Beauty", "Living", "Entertainment", "How To" and "News."
7. Vox Media Inc.
Vox Media is an American digital media company that houses eight editorial brands: SB Nation, The Verge, Polygon, Curbed, Eater, Racked, Vox and Re/code. The news site claims 150 million monthly unique visitors.
Upworthy is a website for viral content that interweaves the "awesome", the "meaningful" and the "visual." It promotes social and political stories.
9. Gawker Media
Gawker Media is an online media company and blog network based in New York City. It is the parent company for eight different blogs: Gawker.com, Deadspin, Gizmodo, io9, Jalopnik, Jezebel, Kotaku, and Lifehacker.
Complex is a New York-based media platform for youth culture founded as a bi-monthly magazine by fashion designer Marc Ecko. It provides reports on cultural trends, with a focus on niche millennial cultures.
In the present digital age, it is imperative for any successful company to expand their strategy by incorporating texting apps, utilizing multimedia outlets, and managing an online presence. Some traditional publishers are still resistant, but these digital channels are crucial to reach millennials on their level and at their pace. Keeping up with routine digital transformations will determine who stays on top and who gets swept away by the constant tide of media innovation.