Media companies need to adapt and offer more than high-tech 'bells and
whistles' to keep the attention of young consumers, who are much more demanding
than the Baby Boomer generation, according to the results of an annual
leisure-time study conducted by MTV Networks.
MTVN has created a description of consumers 12 through 24, 'media-active,'
based on that group being very selective, confident and impatient in terms of
its media behavior, according to executive vice president of research and
planning Betsy Frank.
During a press briefing Wednesday on MTVN's fifth annual 'Survey of Media,
Entertainment and Leisure Time, 'Frank said TV use among this generation has not
declined. They average watching television 2.4 hours per day, versus 3.6 hours
for those 25 and older, the study found. But Frank added that 'television is not
a passive activity' for these media-actives anymore.
Those born after 1975 'process' information and entertainment differently
because they've been conditioned by the Internet to only see what they want to
see, and they've been spoiled by channels like Nickelodeon and MTV: Music
Television, where there is always something on for their age group, according to
In light of the behavior of this media-active demographic, Frank warned that
media companies can't afford to be complacent and continue to cater to older
mass audiences. That's because by 2020, 60 percent of the population will be
media-active, born since 1975, and media companies must take their demands into
account, according to Frank.
'Complacency as a strategy becomes unsupportable,' she said, 'and bells and
whistles can't overcome programming that's irrelevant.'
Overall, the MTVN study found that television -- despite the Internet --
still represents roughly one-half of the time spent with media, or 57 percent,
and the simultaneous use of media continues to grow.
The media-active have a penchant for using other media while on their PCs.
For example, 18.6 percent of the time, a media-active is listening to radio
while using a PC, and 20.3 percent of the time they are watching TV while on the
computer, according to the study.
The young also see the Internet as 'a mainstream source of entertainment,'
particularly music, she added.