TV, Social, Podcasts: How Parents of Recent College Graduates Consume Media

Posted on May 23, 2024 by Media Culture

Media consumption habits play a significant role in shaping our experiences, opinions, and interactions with others. For parents of recent college graduates, staying informed, entertained, and connected is crucial as they navigate the challenges and triumphs of this unique life stage. By examining the media preferences and behaviors of this demographic, we can gain valuable insights into how they allocate their time and attention across various platforms, and how these choices reflect their priorities, interests, and lifestyles.

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


/// A Multi-Platform Approach to Media Consumption

One of the most striking characteristics of the media habits of recent college graduates is their engagement across multiple platforms. This demographic actively consumes media through a variety of channels, with particularly high levels of engagement in internet (100%), television (95%), social media (93%), and radio (84%). This multi-platform approach suggests that these parents are adept at navigating the diverse media landscape and selecting the channels that best suit their needs and preferences at any given moment.

The high engagement levels across platforms may also reflect the diverse roles and responsibilities that college graduate parents juggle on a daily basis. For example, they may rely on the internet for work-related tasks, educational resources, and online shopping, while turning to television for entertainment, relaxation, and family bonding time. Social media, on the other hand, may serve as a primary means of staying connected with friends, family, and their children, as well as a source of news, information, and community support.

Interestingly, while this audience’s overall consumption of print media is lower than digital channels, they exhibit a notable overindex in this category: 41% of this demographic consume print magazines (1.4 times more likely than the average U.S. population) and 30% consume print newspapers (1.3 times more likely). This suggests that despite the prevalence of digital media, many parents of recent college graduates still value the tactile experience and in-depth content offered by traditional print publications.

/// A Closer Look at Television Viewing Habits

Television remains a central component of this demographic’s media diets, with 95% of this demographic regularly consuming TV content. However, their viewing habits extend beyond traditional linear programming, with a significant proportion engaging with streaming platforms and binge-watching behavior.

Thirty-five percent of parents of recent college graduates watch streaming content on Hulu (1.3 times more likely than the average U.S. population), 26% watch on Peacock (1.2 times more likely), and 12% watch on Apple TV+ (1.2 times more likely). This suggests that these parents are embracing the flexibility and variety offered by streaming services, which allow them to watch their favorite shows and movies on their own schedules and across multiple devices.

Moreover, 72% of parents of recent college graduates engage in binge-watching, with 34% doing so often and 30% doing so sometimes. This trend may be driven by a desire to unwind, escape, or indulge in a bit of "me time" amidst the demands of parenting and daily life. It may also reflect a shared activity with their adult children, as binge-watching has become a popular pastime among younger generations as well.

In terms of linear TV preferences, these parents exhibit a strong affinity for educational, informative, and documentary-style programming. Twenty-five percent of this demographic watch educational/history content, 43% watch documentaries, and 18% watch makeover/renovation shows. This suggests that these parents value television as a source of learning, personal growth, and inspiration, in addition to its entertainment value.


Related: Customer Service and Healthy Choices: Shopping Priorities of Parents of Recent College Graduates


/// The Social Media Landscape for College Graduate Parents

Social media plays a significant role in the lives of parents of recent college graduates, with 93% of this demographic actively engaging with various social platforms. However, their social media preferences and behaviors differ somewhat from the general population, reflecting their unique priorities and interests.

The highest indexing social media platforms for college graduate parents are Nextdoor (17% usage, 1.3 times more likely than the average U.S. population), LinkedIn (35% usage, 1.2 times more likely), and Pinterest (32% usage, on par with U.S. population), . This suggests that these parents prioritize platforms that offer professional networking opportunities, creative inspiration, and local community connections, in addition to the more general social interaction and content sharing provided by platforms like Facebook and YouTube, which have 73% and 60% consumption, respectively.

Interestingly, the social media behaviors of parents of recent college graduates extend beyond passive content consumption, with many actively using these platforms for shopping, information gathering, and community engagement. Thirty-two percent of this demographic have purchased products through social media in the last 12 months (1.8 times more likely than the average U.S. population), and 16% use social media to talk about important societal or political issues (1.4 times more likely).

These findings suggest that college graduate parents view social media as a multifaceted tool for connecting with others, expressing their values and opinions, and making informed purchasing decisions. As such, their social media habits reflect a desire to engage meaningfully with the world around them and to use these platforms as a means of personal empowerment and social influence.

/// The Rise of Podcasts and Audio Streaming

While television and social media dominate this demographic’s media habits, this audience also exhibits a growing interest in podcasts and audio streaming. According to the data, 49% of this demographic regularly consume podcasts (1.1 times more likely than the average U.S. population), with popular genres including politics (12% listenership), music (10% listenership), and news (11% listenership).

This suggests that college graduate parents are drawn to the in-depth, informative, and often conversational nature of podcasts, which allow them to explore their interests and stay informed while multitasking or on the go. The popularity of political and news content may reflect a desire to stay engaged with current events and to deepen their understanding of complex issues, while the interest in music podcasts may serve as a means of entertainment, relaxation, and cultural connection.

In addition to podcasts, college graduate parents also embrace audio streaming platforms for music and other audio content. Thirty-eight percent of this demographic listen to Amazon Prime Music (1.7 times more likely than the average U.S. population), 21% listen to Apple Music (1.9 times more likely), and 16% listen to iHeartRadio (1.7 times more likely).

This shift towards audio streaming may reflect a desire for personalized, on-demand content that can be easily accessed across multiple devices and settings. It may also represent a shared activity with their adult children, as music streaming has become a ubiquitous part of the media landscape for younger generations.

/// Key Takeaways

  1. College graduate parents exhibit a multi-platform approach to media consumption, with high engagement levels across internet (100%), television (95%), social media (93%), and radio (84%).
  2. Despite lower overall consumption, college graduate parents overindex in print media, with 41% consuming print magazines and 30% consuming print newspapers.
  3. Streaming platforms like Hulu, Peacock, and Apple TV+ are popular among this demographic, with 72% engaging in binge-watching.
  4. Parents of recent college graduates prefer educational, informative, and documentary-style television programming, reflecting a desire for personal growth and learning.
  5. Nextdoor, LinkedIn, and Pinterest are the highest-indexing social media platforms for this demographic, highlighting their interest in professional networking, creative inspiration, and local community connections.
  6. These parents actively use social media for shopping, information gathering, and community engagement, with 32% having purchased products through social media in the last 12 months.
  7. Podcasts and audio streaming are gaining popularity among this demographic, with politics, music, and news being the most popular podcast genres, and Amazon Prime Music, Apple Music, and iHeartRadio being the top streaming platforms.

/// Conclusion

The media consumption habits of parents of recent college graduates reflect a diverse, dynamic, and engaged approach to staying informed, entertained, and connected. By embracing a multi-platform strategy that encompasses television, social media, podcasts, and audio streaming, these parents demonstrate a keen ability to navigate the ever-evolving media ecosystem and to select the channels that best suit their needs and interests.

Moreover, their media preferences and behaviors offer valuable insights into their priorities, values, and lifestyles. From their affinity for educational television programming to their active use of social media for shopping and community engagement, the media habits of college graduate parents paint a picture of a demographic that is deeply invested in personal growth, family connection, and social responsibility.

As the media landscape continues to evolve and new platforms emerge, it is likely that parents of recent college graduates will continue to adapt and innovate in their media consumption, seeking out the content and experiences that resonate with their unique perspectives and aspirations. By understanding and catering to the media preferences of this influential demographic, content creators, marketers, and media companies can foster meaningful connections and deliver the value and relevance that these parents seek in their media experiences.

Maximize your reach and engagement with parents of recent college graduates by leveraging our in-depth insights into their diverse media consumption habits. From their multi-platform approach to their affinity for educational content and active social media use, our data will help you create targeted marketing strategies that resonate with this influential demographic. Partner with us to effectively connect with this audience across the media channels they use most, and deliver the personalized, meaningful experiences they seek.

For deeper insights and data into marketing to Parents of Recent College Graduates, download our comprehensive Audience Insights Report below.


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