After Demographics, Connected 'Digital Personalities'


At the National Association of Broadcasters show this week, IBM is unveiling new research into the ways in which people worldwide now consume media and entertainment across screens. The “Beyond Digital” study of more than 3,800 respondents in six countries finds that device-based access to digital media is cutting across traditional age demographics.

For instance, while 65% of people ages 55-65 watch TV while surfing the Web or text messaging on some device or PC, 49% of those over 65 are surfing the Web, and about 30% are texting. In fact, overall, 82% of global consumers 18-64 are using connected devices of some kind now.

Enter the behavioral segmentation. IBM is identifying four “digital personalities” that transcend familiar age-based segments and have more to do with their degrees of access to technology and content as well as the overall intensity of their interactivity. To wit:



The “Efficiency Experts” comprise the largest share of connected consumers (41%), and they are characterized by their relatively low level of access to content and lower levels of intensity. They see the technology and the information mainly as tools for making their lives easier.

The “Content Kings,” which comprise 9% of respondents, have a high level of access to content -- but their levels of interaction are not as intense as some other categories. These are the gamers, the newshounds and the movie buffs. They are consuming content rather than necessarily making media or accessing on multiple devices.

The self-explanatory “Social Butterflies” comprise 15% of the connected consumer base. These people are in consistent access to the networks, but principally to engage friends and family -- not necessarily media-supplied content.

And the “Connected Maestros” or 35% of users combine the behaviors of the “Content Kings” and the “Social Butterflies” to become super-users who are accessing one another and all manner of content across a wide range of devices.

IBM contends that understanding audiences as segments that are experiencing media across devices differently may be the key to capturing them in the future. The company says that media and entertainment companies must begin to get beyond mere redistribution of analog content into digital channels and start thinking about crafting media experiences that are appealing to these various digital personalities and the times, places and situation in which they engage media.  

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