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Why the house you live in determines what you watch on TV and listen to on the radio

By The Drum, Administrator

April 14, 2010 | 5 min read

In council estates, TV programmes like Coronation Street, reflecting traditional values, hold sway; in private housing aspirational programmes like Top Gear and even Gordon Ramsay rule the roost, says a study by the Yes agency

A new report has delved into the concept of ‘community’ and the growing rift in the understanding of this term between deprived and more affluent areas of the UK, with one of the most revealing aspects of the study being the marked dichotomy between the private and council sectors in their consumption of media.

While it is dangerous to employ a broad stroke rendering of local communities, and real care must be taken not to reinforce traditional stereotypes, an insight into demographical media usage is always going to prove valuable to brands as they develop their marketing strategies.

The study by Staffordshire-based Yes Agency found that in today’s Britain the more affluent among us have little or no sense of community, whereas people in social and council housing are much more likely to share a sense of common identity, relate to their neighbours, rely more on local media and have a life that revolves more around local facilities.

Here are some of the findings from Yes Agency's study across TV, Radio, Press and Online.

Television The research has shown that people living in council or social housing have a predilection towards TV programmes reflecting traditional communities - soap operas in particular. Their private housing counterparts, however, prefer more aspirational lifestyle broadcasting, such as programmes focussed on property, entertaining and cars.

People who live in private housing prefer to watch lifestyle programmes such as Top Gear, A Place in the Sun and Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares - 24% identify lifestyle programmes as their favourites, but only 8% identify soaps as their favourites.

People who live in council housing prefer to watch soaps with Coronation Street and Neighbours being popular choices - 31% identify soaps as their favourite choice, but only 13% identify lifestyle programmes as their favourites.

And while television has become an increasingly difficult platform for advertisers to manage due to an increase in the number of channels, in council and social housing community this problem is less prevalent, with residents more likely to have Freeview than Sky.

37% of people who live in council housing have Sky and 38% have Freeview37% of people who live in social housing have Sky and 25% have Freeview54% of people who live in private housing have Sky and 23% have Freeview

Radio Radio consumption likewise varies greatly between rented and owner-occupied communities. For social and rented housing dwellers, who have a greater communal spirit as determined by their locale, governmental tenant engagement is important and local media is a more trusted source of this.

Private owners on the other hand favour private sector contemporaries and their radio listenership is therefore predominantly national. This means that radio as a media channel is effectively closed for advertisers trying to reach this audience. However, it does provide an opportunity for advertisers trying to engage with communities within council housing.

77% of people in social housing listen to the radio73% of people in council housing listen to the radio67% of people in private housing listen to the radio

Press Because of the cohesion within a council housing community, residents are more likely to trust the local press for new products or places to visit.

23% of people in private housing use local press as a means to discover new things as opposed to 31% in council housing and 25% in social housing.27% of people in private housing use the internet to find out about new things, whereas only 16% of people in council housing use this.

Online Despite many advertisers moving their budgets into online activity this is not yet an ideal solution for companies wishing to engage with council or social housing communities. Only half of council housing residents currently use the internet and their usage is significantly less than their private housing counterparts.

53% of people in council housing have the internet and 53% of these people only use it for up to an hour each day88% of people in social housing use the internet with 73% using it for less than an hour a day83% of people in private housing use the internet, but 61% of these people use it for 3 hours or more

The research indicates that social and council housing dwellers are still largely living in the types of communities that were prevalent during the 1950s. Private housing dwellers on the other hand are actively seeking to further detach themselves from any idea of community and stress their own individuality.

This equating of community participation to media consumption is one that must be considered by marketers as it effectively makes marketing to the desired ABC1 demographic all the more complicated as they become more and more difficult to pigeonhole through continual striving for individuality.

Likewise, appealing to C2DEs has similar problems as messages need to be further localised for them if they are to infiltrate local communities and be trusted. Unfocussed, national campaigns are unlikely to hold weight.

Do you have a report you want us to consider for publication? If so email it to our report editor

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