Local Interactive Strategies

Teens as future channel-surfers? I don’t think so

Nielsen has a new report on teen TV watching, and I’m not sure I agree with one of the findings.

Nielsen finds teens are watching a lot more video on laptops and phones, than regular TV (aka the “first screen”).

“12-24 year olds are more connected, more tech savvy, and more likely to use personal devices such as smartphones, laptops and other gadgets for video viewing. They are also less likely to watch traditional television.”

OK, that  makes sense. (Maybe even: Well, duh!) But check out the next sentence:

“But much of this is driven by economic necessity and lifestyle choices, and is likely to change as the younger becomes the older generation.”

Nielsen makes this prediction based on data showing that teens in the past turned into heavier TV watchers as they aged, as shown in this table:

While the research about the past seems solid, I have to wonder about the prediction for the future. As people’s attention spans grow shorter, and as they get more habitual in their usage of portable tablets, laptops and  phones — doesn’t it seem  like a whole lot more is changing than just age?

It seems to me we’re seeing a fundamental shift in media consumption, one that defies comparisons to behaviors of only a few years ago.

In the chart above, the starting year is 2001. 2001! Facebook didn’t exist. Google was just one of several popular search engines. There was no YouTube.

What’s startling  isn’t just the huge leaps in technology, but the dramatic changes in how people spend their time: YouTubing, Googling, Facebooking.

If you spend any time at all with teens and 20-somethings, try picturing them in 10 years vegging on the couch with the remote. I can’t.

June 17, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. I have a 15 year old daughter, a focus group of one. She left myspace at least 2 years ago and mainly chats with her close friends via FB chat. Does not use twitter. One thing the study states is she is tech savvy. I would love the definition of THAT. She does have her TV shows and watches them as she texts. Of course my expectation is that my flat screen Tv is going to morph into my computer screen and it isn’t going to matter to me where/how the content comes from but that I have chosen it and I probably won’t have to surf through all the lame stuff to get my content.

    Comment by Dennis Gears | June 17, 2010 | Reply

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