Brand Republic featured this on their Digital bulletin today and included comments from me:
Nick Burcher, board member at Zed Media, said Saga's entry into the UK social networking arena was an effective way of connecting with its audience, which was increasingly willing to interact and form communities online, as evidenced by the popularity of Friends Reunited with older users.
Burcher said: "Over the last year there have been a number of moves into this area to tap into the older market online. Saga Zone is part of the company’s overall engagement and interaction with its customers, rather than a standalone social networking site for over 50s."
Burcher said that it was unlikely that older users of social network sites would devote the amount of time typical among younger users: "We are not seeing massive usage in these demographics in social networking. However, older users tend to be more loyal and less likely to jump on the next bandwagon, so they are more likely to be sticky and develop loyalty to one site over time.
"Social networking has been dominated by youth-oriented sites such as MySpace, Facebook and Bebo. MySpace is almost deliberately designed to alienate older users and preserve its exclusively young user base."
Making money from social networking was still a challenge faced by even popular sites, Burcher said: "Facebook is still wrestling with how to monetise their traffic, despite their massive user base."http://www.brandrepublic.com/Digital/News/763810/Saga-launches-social-networking-site-attract-over-50s/