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How Teenagers Consume Media

Since I am in marketing and have written several times on “millennials” or the new digital generation and how they are expected to transform markets and the workforce, I had many people (seemed like millions) send me (email/tweet/IM/link) a recent “research” piece published by Morgan Stanley titled “How Teenagers Consume Media.”

Picked up by the Financial Times, the research report written by 15 year old summer work intern, Matthew Robson, was published as research according to Edward Hill-Wood, head of the Morgan media analyst team, because it “provides one of the clearest and most thought provoking insights we have seen” and that ”understanding their [teenagers] mindset seems an excellent way of assessing how the media landscape will evolve.”

It’s not a very long report (~2,280 words), but in the immortal words of Inigo Montoya, “Let me sum up”:

  • Teenagers nowadays are not regular listeners to radio
  • Most teenagers watch television
  • No teenager regularly reads a newspaper
  • Teenagers (boys and girls) play video games
  • Every teenager has some access to the internet
  • Builders and florists are services that teenagers do not require
  • Teenagers listen to a lot of music
  • Teenagers visit the cinema (movies) quite often
  • 99% of teenagers have a mobile phone

Incredible!  I never knew any of this about teenage behavior!  Can you imagine?  I guess most of us have been suffering from the delusion that most teenagers regularly pour over the FT, WSJ or NY Times and rarely watch TV.  I am further shocked to learn that teenagers have access to the internet, go to movies, have cell phones, and play video games.  Earth shattering!  Stay tuned for Morgan’s riveting follow up research where we’ll discover that teenagers eat junk food, sleep late, and go on dates!  I can’t wait to take what meager discretionary funds I have to Morgan to invest based on their incredible access to such insightful and “thought provoking” research.

Seriously, the only real take away from the article on the drivers of teenage behavior you already knew:  Teenagers Don’t Have Any Money!  Matt references the words “cost”, “free”, “pay”, “price”, and “expensive” around 35 times in his short piece.  Except for the derivations of his subject “teenager” (60), that is more than any other term (not including articles, adverbs, etc).  Yes, and waaaay more than even “whilst” (7) and “like” (3) which could argue that it wasn’t written by a teenager despite Matt’s supposed creed.  

So, the “thought provoking insight”: Teenagers are just as broke today as they were in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s… you get the picture.  To all of those “elderly media moguls” the revelation: make it cheap, cool, and create some type of edgy mystique (i.e. pulling a fast one on “the man”) versus “annoying” adverts (sorry Benetton and Billy Mays) and the teens will come to you in droves. 

Oh, another thing that hasn’t changed much: 15 year olds still don’t write very well (even with editing by Morgan).  Although, I must admit, at least Matt stated the obvious, as, well… obvious.  I guess the investment banks can learn a lot from Matt…

Tweet you later.

Posted by John Hiraoka, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Epicor

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