How UK Teens See Media

I ran across this article last week on how (UK) teens consume media. It republishes in full a report written by a 15-year-old intern at the London offices of Morgan Stanley. Here are some verbatim bits I found interesting (remember this is anecdotal opinion):

Radio: 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. The main reason teenagers listen to the radio is for music, but now with online sites streaming music for free they do not bother

Newspapers: 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

Internet: Most teenagers are heavily active on a combination of social networking sites. Facebook is the most common, with nearly everyone with an internet connection registered and visiting >4 times a week. 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 realise 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.Outside of social networking, the internet is used primarily as a source of information for a variety of topics. For searching the web, Google is the dominant figure, simply because it is well known and easy to use.

YP/directories: Teenagers never use real directories (hard copy catalogues such as yellow pages). This is because real directories contain listings for builders and florists, which are services that teenagers do not require. They also do not use services such as 118 118 because it is quite expensive and they can get the information for free on the internet, simply by typing it into Google.

Mobile: 99% of teenagers have a mobile phone and most are quite capable phones. The general view is that Sony Ericsson phones are superior, due to their long list of features, built in walkman capability and value (£100 will buy a mid-high range model). Teenagers due to the risk of it getting lost do not own mobile phones over the £200 mark. As a rule, teenagers have phones on pay as you go. This is because they cannot afford the monthly payments, and cannot commit to an 18-month contract. Usually, teenagers only use their phone for texting, calling.

Nothing new here but more confirmation that the future is not like the past for media and publishers.


2 Responses to “How UK Teens See Media”

  1. AhmedF Says:

    I personally greatly dislike anecdotal stories like this. I have moved around a lot – and a great example of the problem of such a story is the preferred IM-client in various localities. For example – the high school I went to everyone used ICQ, but the other high school I went to for night class everyone used AIM. In the university I went to, everyone used MSN, but in my friend’s university (a 10-15 minute walk away), Yahoo! Messenger reigned supreme.

    Giving one kid’s experience in his social circle (pretty much limited by his school/geography) as the norm for an entire age bracket seems like a poor mental exercise to me.

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    Fair criticism. It’s also true that as people get older their needs and behaviors change. Lots of the behavior identified is about avoiding costs, which will change as these teens start to make money

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