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Nielsen Report: How Teens Use Media | June2009

Nielsen Report: How Teens Use Media | June2009



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Published by Derek E. Baird
It’s easy to get caught up in the hype around teenagers. The notion that teens are too busy texting and Twittering to be engaged with traditional media is exciting, but false.

To develop the best strategy around teens and media, start by challenging popular assumptions about teens. Don’t focus on the outliers, but on the macro-level trends of media and preferences for the segment.

The averages will show you that teens can often be reached by the same means as their parents.
It’s easy to get caught up in the hype around teenagers. The notion that teens are too busy texting and Twittering to be engaged with traditional media is exciting, but false.

To develop the best strategy around teens and media, start by challenging popular assumptions about teens. Don’t focus on the outliers, but on the macro-level trends of media and preferences for the segment.

The averages will show you that teens can often be reached by the same means as their parents.

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Published by: Derek E. Baird on Sep 24, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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How teens use…TV, Online andMobile VideoInternetMobile PhonesGamesMoviesMusicAdvertising
 June 2009
How Teens Use Media
A Nielsen report on themyths and realities o teen media trends
Teens watch less online video than
most adults, but the ads are highlyengaging to them:
Teens spend 35%less time watching online video thanadults 25–34, but recall ads better whenwatching TV shows online than they doon television.
Teens read newspapers, listen to the
radio and even
advertising morethan most:
Teens who recall TV ads are44% more likely to say they liked the ad.
Teens play video games, but are as
excited about play-along music gamesand car-racing games as they are aboutviolent ones:
Just two o their top vemost-anticipated games since 2005 arerated “Mature.”
Teens’ favorite TV shows, top websites
and genre preferences across mediaare mostly the same as those of theirparents:
For U.S. teens, American Idolwas the top show in 2008, Google thetop website and general dramas are apreerred TV genre or teens aroundthe world.Ephebiphobia is the irrational ear o  youth, rooted in the Greek “ephebos” or youth, and “phobos,” or, well, phobia.While the term was coined just 15 yearsago, a curiosity and mystique around youth and their behavior has long beena cultural obsession. Consider these
covers over the decades: “Let’sFace It: Our Teenagers Are Out o Control”in 1954; “The Teenagers: A Survey o WhatThey’re Really Like” in 1966; “The SecretLie o Teens” in 1999 and “Why Teens DoStupid Things” in 2006, refecting society’slong-held view that teens are downrighttroublesome—or a orm o alien lie.In media and marketing, ephebiphobiashows up in the constant and reneticquest to understand how teens use media,made murky by assumptions that teenssomehow behave radically dierentlythan their parents and other consumers.We sometimes all prey to the notionthat teen habits are changing so quicklyand dramatically that they run counter tobroader cultural trends, are unknowableand unmeasurable, constantly evading ourunderstanding and engagement.The act is, teens are unique, but they arenot as bizarre and outlying as some mightpresume. Sure, they are the digital natives,super-communicators and multi-taskerswe hear so much about, but they are alsothe TV viewers, newspaper readers andradio listeners that some assume they arenot. What we have ound, across a varietyo studies, is that teens embrace newmedia not at the cost o traditional media,but in supplement to it.
Taken on whole,teens exhibit media habits that are more similar to the total population than not.
 Globally, there are more than 1.2 billionpeople ages 10–19, according to the U.S.Census. O those, there are about 33million teenagers ages 13–19 in the UnitedStates. Beyond sheer mass, this demo-graphic wields tremendous infuence—ontheir peers, their parents and the cultureat large. As well, the ormative nature o their years has implications or everythingrom consumer packaged goods marketingto the democratic process.Understanding the reality o how teensuse media is critical—not just or business,but or civic, cultural and social pursuits.This paper examines teens in the U.S. andin many o the international markets thatNielsen measures. Our ndings challengea whole host o assumptions about themedia habits o this generation—oeringa ew surprises as we separate mythrom reality.
Executive Summary
It’s easy to get caught up in the hypearound teenagers. The notion that teensare too busy texting and Twittering to beengaged with traditional media is excit-ing, but alse.To develop the best strategy aroundteens and media, start by challengingpopular assumptions about teens. Don’tocus on the outliers, but on the macro-level trends o media and preerences orthe segment. The averages will show youthat teens can oten be reached by thesame means as their parents.In this report, “How Teens Use Media,”we debunk the myths and give you thehard acts.
Teens are NOT abandoning TV for
new media:
In act, they watch moreTV than ever, up 6% over the past ve years in the U.S.
Teens love the Internet…but spend
far less time browsing than adults:
 Teens spend 11 hours and 32 minutesper month online—ar below theaverage o 29 hours and 15 minutes.
In a word, teens are “normal.”It’s true: the media universe is expandingor teens. Social networks play an in-creasingly important role (about hal o U.S. teens use Facebook) and now manyteens access the Web over their phones(37% in the U.S.) Teens time-shitvideo with DVRs and they place-shiton their video MP3 players. Yet teensare not unique in this media revolution.The media experience has evolved andcross-platorm engagement will be criti-cal to reaching all consumers, not justteens. Media innovations have impactedeveryone’s experience—not just the
High School Musical
set.So don’t recongure the playbook.Discard the assumption that, as a rule,teens are “alien” and plan or them as you would any demographic segment—with careul attention and calculus, notpanic. Keep your eye on the averages,keep your head on your shoulders, andbeore you rewire your system, remind yoursel: Teens are people, too.
O course there is no “typical” teen-age consumer, just as really there is notypical consumer overall. The segmentedbehavior o extreme teen users, teenso dierent races or genders and teensin dierent regions, internationally anddomestically, is poorly represented byaverages. But what averages conceal invariation, they make up or it in perspec-tive. A summary view o media behavior isparticularly useul when examining teens,since you may know or envision outliers o this segment and mistake their behavioras representative.
A Day in the Lie
First, let’s look at a snapshot o how atypical teen might spend a media day,based on a variety o Nielsen sources:Video consumption, led by TV viewing,is the centerpiece o teen mediaconsumption.
Figure 1: A Day In The Lie^
Media Consumption of a Typical U.S. Teenager as measured by NielsenTV
3 hours,20 minutes
52 minutesincludingapplications
Mobile Voice
6 minutes
Video on an MP3Player
1 in 4 watched
8 minutes
23 minutes
96 sent or received
Audio-Only MP3Player
 1 in 2 used
17 minutes
Online video
I they watched,watched 6 minutes
Mobile video
I they watched,watched or 13minutes
1 in 4 read
Console Gaming
25 minutes
PC Games
1 in 10 played,today
Mobile Web
1 in 3 used
Movie Theater
Went once in thepast 5 weeks
^For directional purposes only, this table estimates daily U.S. teen media use across a variety of platforms based on arange of Nielsen sources from 2008 and Q1 2009. Details of these estimates are contained in the body of this paper. Source: The Nielsen Company 
More Focused Than You Think
Myth:Teens use media—10 screens ata timeReality:Teens are more likely than adultsto use their media one at a time
Popular opinion is that teen mediaconsumers are constantly surroundedby multiple media, but the image o the“typical” teen listening to an iPod, watch-ing TV, texting and browsing the Internetall at the same time, it turns out, is grosslymisrepresentative.In 2007, Ball State University’s Centeror Media Design conducted an obser-vational study o teen media use, “HighSchool Media Too,” (2007). In the study,researchers ound that 23% o the mediatime among observed teens was concur-rent media exposure, where two or moremedia were in simultaneous use. Put di-erently, 77% o the time observed, teenswere consuming media they were using just one at a time.This level o concurrent use is lower thanBall State researchers saw in older mediaconsumers in the now amous MiddletownMedia Studies research, also a producto the Center or Media Design. There,31% o adult media time was concurrentexposure.While teens do multi-task in their mediaexperience, their concurrent behavior mayactually be lower than it is among adults.The myth that concurrent exposure isthe norm, or teens in particular, sets animportant ramework as we explore thebreadth o the teen media experience.

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