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Home arrow Market Research Findings arrow Media / Social Media arrow Differences in Media Consumption by Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual (GLB) and Heterosexual Adults
Differences in Media Consumption by Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual (GLB) and Heterosexual Adults PDF Print E-mail
Written by Harris Interactive   
03 Apr 2005

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – April 4, 2005 – According to a recent nationwide online survey, the media consumption habits of gay, lesbian and bisexual (GLB) adults differ from those of their heterosexual counterparts – particularly when it comes to cable television, alternative print media, online media and magazines.

For example, GLB adults (76%) frequently or occasionally watch basic cable, compared with two-thirds (67%) of heterosexual adults. Similarly, six in 10 (62%) GLB respondents report they frequently or occasionally watch specialty cable networks (compared with 56% of heterosexuals) and 45 percent report they frequently or occasionally watch premium (pay) cable networks (compared with 37% of heterosexuals).

These are a few highlights of a nationwide survey of 2,630 U.S. adults, of whom 177 have self-identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual. The survey was conducted online between March 8 and 14, 2005 by Harris Interactive?, a worldwide market research and consulting firm, in conjunction with Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc., a strategic public relations and marketing communications firm with special expertise in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender market.

The online survey also highlights preferences toward reading alternative newspapers among GLB and heterosexual adults. While one-half of GLB respondents (49%) state they frequently or occasionally read the alternative press, one-quarter (27%) of heterosexual adults say they do. Likewise, three in 10 (31%) GLB respondents say they frequently or occasionally listen to independent and alternative radio stations, compared with one-quarter (25%) of non-gay respondents.

"Gays, lesbians and bisexuals are as avid as ever about connecting to television programming and publications that are directly relevant to their lives, needs and tastes," said Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck-Combs Communications. "This research tells us they are looking beyond traditional mass media for news and entertainment trends that intrigue them and, more importantly, that also include them."

Expanding on what previous Harris Interactive studies have shown about GLB Internet use, this survey indicates that two-thirds (66%) of GLB adults frequently or occasionally visit mainstream online channels (compared with 57% of heterosexual adults). Gays also read web logs (or "blogs") more often than their non-gay counterparts (27% of GLB adults versus 18% of heterosexual adults frequently or occasionally seek out blogger websites).

Furthermore, GLB respondents are more likely to read specialty or niche magazines than are heterosexual adults (15% GLB versus 4% heterosexuals frequently or occasionally read them). This difference is particularly apparent with travel (31% vs. 19%), the arts (16% vs. 6%) and entertainment (40% vs. 28%) publications.

Not surprisingly, there’s virtually no distinction between gay and non-gay viewing habits related to conventional broadcast television channels. More than eight in 10 gay and non-gay adults alike say they frequently or occasionally watch national and local broadcast channels.

TABLE 1

FREQUENCY OF WATCHING OR READING MEDIA

"How often do you read or watch each of the following?"

Base: All Adults

?

Total
(n=2,630)

Heterosexual
(n=2,361)

GLB
(n=177)

?

%

%

%

Local television networks

? ? ?

Frequently

57

59

44

Occasionally

26

25

39

Seldom

11

10

15

Never

6

6

3

Local newspapers

? ? ?

Frequently

51

52

37

Occasionally

27

26

38

Seldom

16

15

18

Never

7

7

7

Independent and alternative newspapers

? ? ?

Frequently

9

8

24

Occasionally

20

19

25

Seldom

23

23

18

Never

49

50

33

Broadcast television networks (e.g. ABC, CBS)

? ? ?

Frequently

58

59

56

Occasionally

24

24

29

Seldom

11

11

14

Never

7

7

1

National newspapers (e.g. USA Today, Wall Street Journal)

? ? ?

Frequently

9

9

9

Occasionally

22

22

27

Seldom

30

29

37

Never

39

39

27

News magazines (e.g. Time, Newsweek)

? ? ?

Frequently

13

13

18

Occasionally

24

24

33

Seldom

30

30

27

Never

33

34

22

TABLE 1 (CONTINUED)

FREQUENCY OF WATCHING OR READING MEDIA

"How often do you read or watch each of the following?"

Base: All Adults

?

Total
(n=2,630)

Heterosexual
(n=2,361)

GLB
(n=177)

?

%

%

%

Mainstream online channels (e.g. AOL, MSN, Yahoo!)

? ? ?

Frequently

36

36

41

Occasionally

22

21

25

Seldom

15

16

13

Never

27

27

20

Basic cable networks (e.g. ESPN, CNN, MTV)

? ? ?

Frequently

38

38

43

Occasionally

29

29

34

Seldom

14

14

9

Never

19

19

14

Specialty cable networks (e.g. BET, Lifetime, HGTV)

? ? ?

Frequently

26

27

23

Occasionally

30

29

39

Seldom

17

17

18

Never

27

27

19

Premium cable networks (e.g. HBO, Showtime, Cinemax)

? ? ?

Frequently

21

20

30

Occasionally

17

17

16

Seldom

17

17

23

Never

45

46

32

Mainstream radio

? ? ?

Frequently

34

35

41

Occasionally

28

29

26

Seldom

17

16

20

Never

21

21

14

Independent and alternative radio

? ? ?

Frequently

8

8

17

Occasionally

17

17

14

Seldom

20

20

22

Never

54

55

47

Talk radio

? ? ?

Frequently

19

20

9

Occasionally

21

20

31

Seldom

23

23

25

Never

38

37

35

Lifestyle, home decorating and design magazines (e.g. Martha Stewart Living, O, Real Simple)

? ? ?

Frequently

10

11

11

Occasionally

18

18

17

Seldom

23

23

27

Never

49

49

45

Sports magazines (e.g. Sports Illustrated, Golf Digest, Field & Stream)

? ? ?

Frequently

6

6

7

Occasionally

13

13

8

Seldom

23

23

20

Never

59

58

66

TABLE 1 (CONTINUED)

FREQUENCY OF WATCHING OR READING MEDIA

"How often do you read or watch each of the following?"

Base: All Adults

?

Total
(n=2,630)

Heterosexual
(n=2,361)

GLB
(n=177)

?

%

%

%

Entertainment magazines (e.g. Entertainment Weekly, People, Us)

? ? ?

Frequently

10

10

19

Occasionally

18

18

21

Seldom

30

31

29

Never

41

42

30

Fashion magazines (e.g. InStyle, Vogue, WWD)

? ? ?

Frequently

5

4

7

Occasionally

12

12

15

Seldom

19

19

26

Never

64

65

52

Niche magazines (e.g. Nylon, Paper, Interview, Surface)

? ? ?

Frequently

2

2

4

Occasionally

3

2

11

Seldom

8

8

15

Never

87

89

69

Art magazines (e.g. Art News, Art in America, Artforum)

? ? ?

Frequently

1

1

5

Occasionally

5

5

11

Seldom

16

15

20

Never

78

78

64

Travel magazines (e.g. Conde Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure, Out Traveller)

? ? ?

Frequently

6

6

12

Occasionally

13

13

19

Seldom

25

25

18

Never

56

56

51

Men’s magazines (e.g. Esquire, Details)

? ? ?

Frequently

4

3

15

Occasionally

7

6

15

Seldom

16

15

24

Never

73

75

46

Men’s fitness magazines (e.g. Men’s Health)

? ? ?

Frequently

3

2

12

Occasionally

8

7

16

Seldom

13

13

20

Never

76

77

52

Women’s magazines (e.g. Redbook, Cosmopolitan, Glamour)

? ? ?

Frequently

11

12

4

Occasionally

16

17

5

Seldom

20

19

33

Never

53

52

58

TABLE 1 (CONTINUED)

FREQUENCY OF WATCHING OR READING MEDIA

"How often do you read or watch each of the following?"

Base: All Adults

?

Total
(n=2,630)

Heterosexual
(n=2,361)

GLB
(n=177)

?

%

%

%

Women’s fitness magazines (e.g. Self, Shape)

? ? ?

Frequently

3

3

1

Occasionally

9

9

9

Seldom

17

17

20

Never

71

70

70

Shelter magazines (e.g. Architectural Digest, Elle D cor, Met Home)

? ? ?

Frequently

2

2

4

Occasionally

7

7

13

Seldom

17

17

20

Never

73

73

62

Urban magazines (e.g. VIBE, Essence, Honey, One World)

? ? ?

Frequently

3

3

1

Occasionally

6

5

14

Seldom

9

8

14

Never

83

84

70

Music magazines (e.g. Rolling Stone)

? ? ?

Frequently

3

3

2

Occasionally

9

8

22

Seldom

20

20

30

Never

68

70

47

Satellite radio stations

? ? ?

Frequently

3

3

5

Occasionally

7

7

10

Seldom

10

10

18

Never

80

80

66

Web longs online ("bloggers") with special interests

? ? ?

Frequently

5

5

4

Occasionally

14

13

24

Seldom

23

23

29

Never

58

59

44

Methodology

Harris Interactive? conducted the study online within the United States between March 8 and 14, 2005, among a nationwide cross section of 2,630 adults (aged 18 and over), of whom 177 self-identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual (GLB). Figures for age, sex, race, education, region and income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

In theory, with a probability sample of this size, one can say with 95 percent certainty that the results for the overall sample have a sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. Sampling error for the GLB sample results is plus or minus 8 percentage points. There are several other possible sources of error in all polls or surveys that are probably more serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. They include refusals to be interviewed (non-response), question wording and question order and weighting. It is impossible to quantify the errors that may result from these factors. This online sample is not a probability sample.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

Additional Note: Previous research conducted by Harris Interactive in conjunction with Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc. queried gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) self-identified respondents. Although we remain interested in the consumer attitudes and characteristics of transgendered individuals, for accuracy and consistency we distinguish sexual orientation from gender identity. In addition, given the low incidence of response from transgendered individuals, it is extremely difficult to draw conclusions from the data captured.

About Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc.

Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc. (www.witeckcombs.com) is the nation’s premier strategic marketing communications firm, specializing in reaching the gay and lesbian consumer market. With over nine years experience in this unique market, Witeck-Combs Communications has developed respected relationships throughout the community and serves as a bridge between corporate America and gay and lesbian consumers. In April 2003, American Demographics magazine identified Bob Witeck and Wes Combs as two of 25 experts over the last 25 years who have made significant contributions to the fields of demographics, market research, media and trendspotting for their pathbreaking work on the gay and lesbian market.

About Harris Interactive?

Harris Interactive Inc. (www.harrisinteractive.com), the 15th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world, is a Rochester, N.Y.-based global research company that blends premier strategic consulting with innovative and efficient methods of investigation, analysis and application. Known for The Harris Poll? and for pioneering Internet-based research methods, Harris Interactive conducts proprietary and public research to help its clients achieve clear, material and enduring results.

Harris Interactive combines its intellectual capital, databases and technology to advance market leadership through U.S. offices and wholly owned subsidiaries: London-based HI Europe (www.hieurope.com), Paris-based Novatris (www.novatris.com), Tokyo-based Harris Interactive Japan, through newly acquired WirthlinWorldwide, a Reston, Virginia-based research and consultancy firm ranked 25th largest in the world, and through an independent global network of affiliate market research companies. EOE M/F/D/V

 
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