The LGBTQ+ Media Landscape: From Social Media to Streaming, Podcasts to Print

Posted on June 26, 2024 by Media Culture

As the LGBTQ+ population in the United States continues to grow, reaching 7.6% of adults in 2023, understanding their media consumption habits and preferences becomes increasingly important for marketers and content creators. This article explores the diverse media landscape of the LGBTQ+ community, from their social media engagement to streaming preferences, podcast consumption, and traditional media usage.

For additional detail, and for a full list of sources, please make sure to download the full report: LGBTQ+: Audience Insights Report.


/// Demographics and General Media Trends

Before delving into specific media channels, it's crucial to understand the demographic makeup of the LGBTQ+ population. The community skews younger, with 62.7% under 35 years old. They are predominantly female (64.4%) and more racially diverse than the general population. This younger demographic influences their media consumption patterns, with a clear preference for digital and social media platforms over traditional media outlets.

LGBTQ+ adults are heavy users of social media and podcasts, spending 48% more time on podcasts compared to the general population. They show slightly lower engagement with television and significantly less consumption of radio and print media. This shift towards digital platforms aligns with their tech-savvy nature and desire for more personalized, on-demand content.


/// Social Media: The Digital Heartbeat of the LGBTQ+ Community

Social media plays a crucial role in the media diet of LGBTQ+ individuals. They are 6% more likely to use social media compared to the general population, with near-universal (96%) engagement across various platforms. The most popular social media platforms among this audience include:

  1. YouTube (77% usage, 120 index)
  2. Facebook (63% usage, 85 index)
  3. Discord (45% usage, 350 index)
  4. Twitch (24% usage, 305 index)
  5. Tumblr (19% usage, 514 index)

The high index scores for platforms like Tumblr, Discord, and Twitch indicate that LGBTQ+ individuals are significantly more likely to use these platforms compared to the general population. This preference for more niche, community-driven platforms suggests a desire for spaces where they can express themselves freely and connect with like-minded individuals.

/// Social Media Behaviors and Influence

LGBTQ+ individuals are not just passive consumers on social media; they are active participants and influencers. Key behaviors include:

  • 23% talk about important societal or political issues (208 index)
  • 21% share links redirecting to content they created (167 index)
  • 41% post content directly to social networking sites (156 index)

Moreover, social media plays a significant role in their purchasing decisions. 29% consider social media a good source of information for purchases (146 index), with 12% trusting social media influencers on TikTok (224 index) and YouTube (180 index). This high level of trust in social media influencers presents a unique opportunity for brands to connect with the LGBTQ+ audience through authentic, community-driven marketing campaigns.

Related: Beyond Identity: LGBTQ+ Experiences in Health, Politics, and Faith


/// Streaming and Television: The Rise of On-Demand Content

While LGBTQ+ adults show slightly lower engagement with television overall (87% usage, 95 index), their viewing habits are shifting towards streaming platforms. The most popular streaming services among this audience include:

  1. Hulu With Live TV (11% usage, 156 index)
  2. Hulu (20% usage, 147 index)
  3. HBO Max (13% usage, 127 index)

Specific streaming programs that resonate with this audience include "Black Mirror" (169 index), "The Umbrella Academy" (142 index), and "Law & Order: SVU" (127 index). On network television, shows like "Black Ink Crews" (254 index), "The Bachelorette" (234 index), and "Bob's Burgers" (225 index) are particularly popular.

When it comes to linear TV content preferences, LGBTQ+ viewers gravitate towards:

  • Anime (25% viewership)
  • Cartoons (26% viewership)
  • Children's programming (15% viewership)

Binge-watching is a common behavior among LGBTQ+ viewers, with 82% engaging in this practice. 40% state they binge-watch often, while 22% do so always. This preference for immersive, long-form content consumption should inform content creation and marketing strategies targeting this audience.

/// Podcasts: A Growing Medium for LGBTQ+ Voices

Podcasts have emerged as a significant medium for the LGBTQ+ community, with 52% of the audience engaging with this format (119 index). LGBTQ+ individuals spend 48% more time listening to podcasts (40 minutes daily) compared to the general population (27 minutes daily). Popular podcast genres include:

  1. Horror/Thriller (11% listenership, 289 index)
  2. Mystery (13% listenership, 205 index)
  3. Music (13% listenership, 166 index)

Spotify dominates as the preferred podcast platform, with 33% of the audience using it to listen to podcasts (195 index). The majority of podcast consumption occurs at home (41%, 127 index) or during work/school (17%, 175 index).

The high engagement with podcasts presents an opportunity for brands and content creators to reach the LGBTQ+ audience through this intimate, audio-based medium. The popularity of niche genres like horror/thriller and mystery suggests a desire for escapist and immersive content experiences.


/// Radio: Shifting Preferences in Audio Consumption

While overall radio consumption is lower among LGBTQ+ adults (62% usage, 86 index), there are still significant insights to be gleaned from their listening habits. Alternative radio is the most popular genre, with 28% of the audience tuning in (205 index). Other popular genres include dance music (14% listenership, 191 index) and Top 40 (18% listenership, 124 index).

Internet radio is gaining traction, with 28% of the audience listening through this medium (127 index). Streaming platforms are also popular, with Apple Music (20% usage, 188 index) and Spotify (52% usage, 164 index) leading the pack.

The shift towards digital audio platforms and niche genres reflects the LGBTQ+ community's desire for personalized, on-demand content that aligns with their diverse interests and identities.


/// Print Media: A Declining but Still Relevant Medium

Print media consumption is notably lower among LGBTQ+ adults, with magazine readership at 20% (65 index) and newspaper readership at 18% (78 index). However, certain publications still resonate with this audience:


  1. Game Informer (4% readership, 274 index)
  2. Cosmopolitan (6% readership, 240 index)
  3. Forbes (5% readership, 162 index)


  1. New York Post (6% readership, 411 index)
  2. Chicago Tribune (4% readership, 398 index)
  3. Washington Post (4% readership, 274 index)

The high index scores for these publications suggest that while overall print consumption is lower, there are still niche interests and information needs being met through traditional print media.


/// Out-of-Home Advertising: Capturing Attention in the Physical World

Despite the digital-first nature of LGBTQ+ media consumption, out-of-home (OOH) advertising still plays a role in reaching this audience. In the past 30 days:

  • 48% have seen non-digital roadside billboards
  • 41% have seen digital roadside billboards
  • 39% have seen displays on the outside of vehicles

Importantly, OOH advertising drives digital engagement, with 15% of the audience viewing information about the advertiser on social media as a result (202 index). This highlights the importance of integrated, omnichannel marketing strategies that bridge the physical and digital worlds.


/// Key Takeaways

  1. LGBTQ+ adults are digital-first consumers, with high engagement on social media and streaming platforms.
  2. Niche, community-driven platforms like Discord, Tumblr, and Twitch are particularly popular among this audience.
  3. Social media influencers play a significant role in shaping purchasing decisions for LGBTQ+ consumers.
  4. Podcasts are a rapidly growing medium, with LGBTQ+ listeners spending 48% more time on podcasts than the general population.
  5. While traditional media consumption is lower, there are still opportunities to reach LGBTQ+ audiences through targeted print publications and out-of-home advertising.
  6. Content preferences skew towards niche genres and formats, including anime, cartoons, horror/thriller podcasts, and alternative radio.
  7. Binge-watching is a common behavior, indicating a preference for immersive, long-form content experiences.
  8. Integrated, omnichannel marketing strategies that bridge digital and physical touchpoints are likely to be most effective in reaching LGBTQ+ consumers.

/// Conclusion

The LGBTQ+ media landscape is characterized by a strong preference for digital, personalized, and community-driven content experiences. From social media to streaming, podcasts to niche print publications, this diverse audience seeks out platforms and content that reflect their identities, interests, and values.

For marketers and content creators, success in reaching the LGBTQ+ audience lies in understanding and embracing these preferences, creating authentic and inclusive campaigns that resonate across multiple channels. As the LGBTQ+ population continues to grow and evolve, staying attuned to their media consumption habits will be crucial for brands looking to build meaningful connections with this influential and engaged community.

Leverage our in-depth insights into the LGBTQ+ media landscape to craft authentic, targeted marketing strategies that resonate with this influential audience. From social media engagement to streaming preferences and podcast consumption, our data empowers you to connect across the channels that matter most. Partner with Media Culture to navigate this dynamic mediascape, creating inclusive, personalized experiences that inspire loyalty and drive results.

For deeper insights and data into marketing to LGBTQ+ adults, download our comprehensive Audience Insights Report below.


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