The shocking report on how teenagers consume media today.

I have just read the shocking Morgan Stanley report on how teenagers consume media today. The report was based on a 2 week internship that 15 year old Matthew Robson did at Morgan Stanley’s London offices in their Media and Internet research Department.

The report provides what could be a new road map for the media industry in coming years as teenagers become the working class, globally. In a nutshell, the global media industry, which is already being violently transformed by digital media and changing consumer habits is going to look a lot different in a few years than it does today, even in Africa.

Here is summary of the main findings of the report from the Times Online:

The world according to Matthew Robson aged 15 and a half:

Radio 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

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 Facebook is the most common, with nearly everyone with an internet connection registered. On the other hand, teenagers do not use Twitter

Music They are very reluctant to pay for it (most having never bought a CD) Teenagers from higher income families use iPods and those from lower income families use mobile phones

Directories Real directories contain listings for builders and florists, which are services teenagers do not require. They can get the information free on the internet

Viral/Outdoor Marketing “Most teenagers enjoy and support viral marketing… Teenagers see adverts on websites (pop-ups, banner ads) as extremely annoying and pointless…they are portrayed in such a negative light that no one follows them.”

Cinema Teenagers visit the cinema more often when they are in the lower end of teendom but as they approach 15 they go to the cinema a lot less. This is because of the pricing; at 15 they have to pay the adult price. Also it is possible to buy a pirated DVD of the film at the time of release, and these cost much less than a cinema ticket

Mobile phones The general view is that Sony Ericsson phones are superior, because of their long list of features, built-in Walkman capacity and value

The full report can be downloaded here>

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  1. July 15, 2009 at 6:16 am — Reply

    All the report says is actually true. Especially in countries where websites contain real-time information, directories are never used, what with google maps and other resources.

  2. kaburo
    July 15, 2009 at 7:29 am — Reply

    I read this report yesterday but once I finished reading it I was very sceptical of the motives of the ‘report’.

    I think its important to note that this is one teenagers view. Its dangerous to take one kid’s view of media as a ‘report on teen consupmtion of media’. Also – there is an intresting disclamer on the report that we must take seriously: Morgan Stabley is biased to the companies it represents.

    On one hand the report says most teens “prefer to own
    separate devices for music, and messaging”… But towards the end of the report, the 15year-old kids says “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).”


    On the whole, I agree that media landscape is changing and that young people are developing new ways of consuming media.

  3. Shikoh
    July 15, 2009 at 8:06 am — Reply

    Hey Moses,
    first, let me commend you for the blogs, i love them…and twitter of course!!
    On the media report, from where i am standing from it is very true, i have just finished a research on mobile media consumption among south africa’s urban poor (papers in the publication process) first hand data from this demography shows all the above true…i will crawl the web for a similar research among teenagers here in south africa…so in spite of your sceptism…the numbers show it is true…cheers and ooh i think Nokia is more popular then Samsung (E-series)

  4. July 15, 2009 at 10:28 am — Reply

    @kaburo, thanks for the observations – this could indeed be a highly skewed report but I think the general findings are spot on and I certainly hope the media industry is sitting up to pay attention!

  5. July 15, 2009 at 10:30 am — Reply

    @shikoh, glad to hear that the report correlates with your findings in South Africa. I’d appreciate it if you can send me a link to your publication once its ready.

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