Teens Say "No Thanks" to Newspapers, Radio, and to Some Extent, TV
According to Robson's report (available here courtesy of the Financial Times), today's teens don't really consume any of what you could call "traditional" media. For example, notes Robson, they don't read newspapers because why bother reading "pages and pages of text" when they could instead "watch the news summarized on the internet or TV?"
They're also not interested in listening to the radio. Although they may occasionally tune in to various stations, they prefer online sites like Last.fm where they can stream music ad-free and, more importantly, where they get to pick the playlist - not some unknown DJ.
What's more surprising, perhaps, are Robson's statements about teens and TV consumption. He says that his peers still watch TV, often tuning into a particular season of TV show or sporting event like football, but the group of "regular TV watchers" who tune into daily programs is shrinking. Also, teens watch less TV than ever before thanks to online streaming services like BBC's iPlayer. (Robson lives in the U.K.). When commercials come on, teens, unlike more patient older generations who grew up without fast-forward buttons and DVRs, simply change the channel.
Internet and New Media
Twitter in droves. Apparently, that's not the case. In fact, Robson says teens see no point in using Twitter. "Most have signed up for the service," notes Robson, "but then just leave it as they realize that they are not going to update it." The teens realize that no one is viewing their profile, so they see tweeting as a pointless activity, he adds. Besides, to update Twitter via text message takes credit (referring to cell phone text plans) and they'd rather use that credit to text their friends.Given that teens aren't into old media like newspapers and radio, you would think that they would be adopting the latest new media crazes like
Twitter aside, most teens are into the Internet. They use Facebook for social networking (so it's not just for "old people?"), they search and research topics with Google, watch videos on YouTube, and download music for their iPods from file-sharing sites. Although that last one is an illegal activity, Robson says it's still very popular since teens are very reluctant to actually pay for music.
Finally, when it comes to online marketing, teens do like viral campaigns but see banner ads and pop-ups as annoying and pointless. They tend to ignore them entirely and never click through.
Teens and Mobile
Although teens may be envious of modern smartphones with Internet data plans, they tend to not own these types of devices because they're too expensive. Instead, teens typically use their phones simply for talking and texting. Video messaging and video calling are also not popular, again due to cost. Teens don't bother with mobile email either, not needing to be hyper-connected to their inboxes like the adults are. However, one thing teens do use their phones for (outside of chatting and texting) is sharing music files with their friends. They do this using Bluetooth, since the service is free and most phones now support it.
Author's Note: Share music via Bluetooth? In reading that, I immediately felt old. Not only have I never done this myself, I didn't even know people did this. Were you aware?
Do You Agree with Robson?
Morgan Stanley notes that Robson's piece "provides one of the clearest and most thought-provoking insights we have seen" and that's why they published it even though they don't have statistics to back up his statements. But by doing so, they're saying that they believe what he reports is accurate and representative of today's teens media consumption.
Of course, without hard data, a report like this has to be taken with a grain of salt. Still, in reading through it, nothing sounds all that shocking or revealing. That's probably because on some level we already know what Robson says to be true. Today's "digital natives" have grown up surrounded by technology and the Internet, so naturally they're not going to be as interested in old media the way older generations are.
Do you agree that the trends Robson notes are real? Or have you seen behavior that contradicts what he reports?
Image credit: flickr user Paulo Fehlauer