Teens and media


The one market that both scares and excites the advertising industry is teens.

They’re exciting because they represent the future of media consumption, they’re scary as many are convinced teens are some sort of mutant human that is a completely different group than we have ever seen before.

I know when I was a teen I had a few key traits. I was awkward, studious, loved hanging out with friends, enjoyed consuming new media content, loved new experiences and wanted to work hard to get a job I would enjoy.

Listen to some all knowing strategists and they’re convinced the new generation of teens are creating documentaries, hacking mobile phones and writing blogs … they are intensely cynical around brands and all about making statements. They are the group that will kill the media industry because as far as they’re concerned, they are the media.

Last week MCN and Habbo released some really good research titled ‘Generation Z: Who is the next influential ad market’

They surveyed 3,000 teens aged 12-18 this year.

Our plan at Maxus is to team up with Paul at MCN to present these insights and what they mean media wise to our clients across 2 events in Sydney and Melbourne.

The results weren’t as radical as some would have you believe – especially around media.

1/ Australian teens are news-hungry.

2/ Whilst the teens surveyed are extremely tech-savvy and are avid users of online  services, they tend to favour more traditional media, such as television, as their  news and entertainment source.

3/ Online media is a very popular communication and networking tool for  Generation Z, who are clearly open to receiving advertisements online.

4/ The teens surveyed like to view information and entertainment content when it suits them best, and therefore will choose mediums that allow them the greatest control over the source, i.e. Subscription Television, iTunes, YouTube etc.

5/ Generation Z use different media simultaneously for entertainment and to  communicate.

Another area I was interested in was what teenagers are doing online when they connected? Again – these are the so called hypermegaconsumers who aren’t passive consumers … they’re mixing, mashing, mixmashing, aggregating and whatever other awesome buzzwords there are. But they aren’t leaning back … it’s forward, it’s involved, it’s interactive or it’s not cool.

In terms of teens and time spent

40% – chatting over IM with friends.
18% – playing games
16% – using social networks and hanging out
16% – surfing the net and browsing websites
3% – listening to music online
2% – email
2% – reading the news online
1% – reading blogs
1% – sharing photo’s and digital art

You could almost argue that not much has changed at all aside the introduction of social networks and search – teens have always been heavy communicators but now they’re using the net instead of the landline. And instead of playing computer games or board games, they’ve moved this pastime to the computer.

And their attitudes to advertising? Well … you probably don’t want to know …

On top of this, 82% don’t just tolerate advertising … they LIKE IT! And 61% said advertising currently was successful in getting them to buy products.

How odd. I thought everything had changed.

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One response to “Teens and media

  1. As a parent of one of these generation Z – the striking thing isnt that they are doing lots of things simultaneously (watching Rugby on TV whilst playing an online game of Stick Cricket and having a Skype call all at the same time is normal) – but the fact that we as marketers think they behave that way ALL the time.
    Sometimes, just like we used to do, they lie on the couch and passively consume a TV show and are so not lean forward that they can’t even move off the couch to put a dirty cup in the dishwasher !!!
    The trick is knowing when and why they move from multi tasker to sloth – and communicate accordingly

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