Genders, genres and media consumption: The MediaShop’s Belinda Kayton investigates

Published on Saturday, 02 April 2016 by Belinda Kayton in The Mediashop news

So Women are from Venus and Men are from Mars right? Maybe and maybe not, especially when it comes to media consumption! How different are we then – men and women – when it comes to what we watch and what we read?

I’ve often heard assumptions about what men read and watch like “men definitely don’t watch soapies and dramas, only the news and sports!” or “women aren’t really interested in sports and the news. They spend all their time watching soapies!”

Others say “men don’t really read magazines, unless they are sports oriented. They read newspapers” and “women mainly just read celebrity mags”.

Really? I find it fascinating, especially when looking at the difference between common opinions and what the reality is.

Let’s first look at TV, because we can see what’s happening with the genders, at programme level.

These are the top three programmes against a total adult target audience and then split into the male and female demographic. See? Not too different. Men love drama just as much as women do! Uzalo, Generation the Legacy and Muvhango are the top three programmes for both sexes. Sport programmes and the news didn’t even come close.

The above table definitely blows popular perceptions out of the water. Women show higher AR’s than Men when it comes to the News! The Xhosa and Zulu News bulletin are the preference for both sexes!

And again the trend continues with the above figures not being too different after all and follows very similar patterns as the top programme list shown above.

How about reality shows? Here too there is a similarity with regards to preferred shows and the sexes. The trend continues with sitcoms, soapies and sport programmes below.

It seems as though the TV myths have been just that - myth. We may be different genders and we may have many differences, but our viewing choices aren’t one of the those differences. The AR’s may differ, but the patterns are the same.

So there shouldn’t REALLY be any fights over the remote control – we are basically watching the same things after all.

Magazine readership research also allows us to make assumptions with regard to reading patterns – do men really ONLY read male-oriented titles and vice versa, do women ONLY read female-oriented titles?

For the purpose of this exercise, we will look at Regular Readers.

Men don’t read celeb mags!? Oh yes, they do! You, Huisgenoot and Drum are in the top five for both genders. The differences come in the form of the sports mags (and in particular, football) for the men – but other than that, we can safely say that when it comes to media consumption we tend to live on the same planet and are watching and reading similar content.

The only correct assumption made was that more men read newspapers than women do, but, did you know, they also read more magazines than women do? The point of the exercise is to never assume that you know what people's media consumption habits are. Just because you watch Carte Blanche religiously every Sunday night, doesn't mean that that the rest of the population is too. Or do they?

Last modified onThursday, 15 June 2017 15:44