Taking a break from flogging the latest tired media business model, Morgan Stanley published a short report on Friday entitled, “How Teenagers Consume Media” by 15-year-old summer intern Matthew Robson that offers a frank discussion of what young digital media consumers are up to. The FT has highlighted it on its front page, perhaps as an antidote to wall-to-wall coverage of the annual Sun Valley media moguls conference in recent days.
The most memorable moment in the report is its discussion of the irrelevancy of Twitter to teenagers:
Facebook is popular as one can interact with friends on a wide scale.
On the other hand, teenagers do not use twitter. Most have signed up to the service, but then just leave it as they release that they are not going to update it (mostly because texting twitter uses up credit, and they would rather text friends with that credit). In addition, they realise that no one is viewing their profile, so their ‘tweets’ are pointless.
Many of the issues higlighted in the 4-page report are obvious: Teenagers are consuming more media, but not prepared to pay for it. They resent intrusive advertising, while print media and radio are largely irrelevant to them. These observations may be nothing new to anyone who bothers to ask kids what they are up to.
As with previous generations, the answers aren’t always what adults hope they are doing. But they have sobering implications for complacent media investors.
No teenager that I know of regularly reads a newspaper, as most do not have the time and cannot be bothered to read pages and pages of text while they could watch the news summarised on the internet or on TV. The only newspapers that are read are tabloids and freesheets (Metro, London Lite…) mainly because of cost…
Most teenagers nowadays are not regular listeners to radio. They may occasionally tune in, but they do not try to listen to a program specifically… With online sites streaming music for free they do not bother, as services such as last.fm do this advert free, and users can choose the songs they want instead of listening to what the radio presenter/DJ chooses.
On (yellow pages) directories:
Teenagers never use real directories (hard copy catalogues such as yellow pages). This is because real directories contain listings for builders and florists… (and) because… they can get the information for free on the internet, simply by typing it into Google
On digital devices:
•Anything with a touch screen is desirable.
•Mobile phones with large capacities for music.
•Portable devices that can connect to the internet (iPhones)
•Really big tellies
What Is Not?
•Anything with wires
•Phones with black and white screens
•Clunky ‘brick’ phones
•Devices with less than ten-hour battery life