Did you hear the one about the 15-year-old who decided to run his own study on the media consumption patterns of teenagers? It's quite the research... er... story... lesson.
Ben Kellogg of Group SJR forwarded me the article after we had spoken about an entirely unrelated subject. To be quite honest, I didn't jump right on it... my laptop had died, losing files, email contacts, and programs. I just kept resetting the email reminder. Until today.
Matthew Robson, a 15-year-old intern working for Morgan Stanley, conducted a media study called "How Teenagers Consume Media." The conclusions caused a bit of an uproar, mainly because one teen does not represent all teens. Yet, it could also be said that the overall observations coincide with many teen media habits. The teens I know, for instance, would rather be online than in front of a television. Either that or doing both... watching TV and surfing the Web, interspersed with texting. Although there is absolutely no statistical backing for a survey of one, we can draw some general inferences from Robson's writing.
General conclusions for the study include:
Most teenagers are not regular listeners to radio, instead opting for online streaming services
Most teens watch television, but frequency varies by season. Additionally, now that TV shows are webcasted as well, there's less worry about missing an episode
Teens do not read traditional papers because "they don't have the time" (I am sure they have the time... it's just that papers don't rank highly on the priority list)
Console gaming, interestingly, is not of interest to teenagers... and the main factor is cost. Costs for consoles and games are beyond most budgets; however, multi-player, interactive online games are popular
The Internet is where teens interact socially, conduct research for school, create videos, IM, and otherwise connect to others... except for Twitter. Matthew states that teens do not use Twitter*
Teens love music, but are not paying for it
Viral marketing is enjoyed and supported by teens
They do not use directories unless it's online, etc.
*According to the graph below from Sysomos, teens comprise 30% of Twitter users:
This is directly in contrast with Robson's assessment.
But hey, he is 15 years-old, and while he may be intelligent, his judgment is missing the crucial benefit of time. However, Morgan Stanley should not be lacking in the judgment column... or, in retrospect, maybe that's exactly what they are missing...