The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

(blogathon 2003)
Fascinating stuff from a recent study, commissioned by Yahoo! and Carat North America, of media consumption patterns among today's youngsters: the average person aged 13-24 spends far more time on the Web than any other media, including television; and even when they do expose themselves to other media, it's usually as part of a multi-tasking effort between two or more different types, i.e. watching TV while cruising Internet chat rooms.

Some choice items from both articles:

Researchers found that young adults preferred the Web, mainly because they liked the control it gave them over their media experience. The study also found that, instead of being intimidated by a wide variety of media offerings, as older adults tend to be, today's young adults welcome the influx and are more likely to use multiple media sources at one time than any other generation.

Wenda Harris Millard, Yahoo!'s chief sales officer, said too often marketers have not changed their media habits to match those of "Millenials" -- the name some have given folks in this age group.

"Marketers have been using the same media strategies since television became the primary medium for most market segments back in the 1950s," she said in a statement. "It's time to rethink."

In all, the study found the Millenials turn to the Internet for its limitless possibilities for entertainment, information and community -- and for the feeling of control it gives people. Focus group participants complained that TV was too structured.

On this last one, I wonder just how realistic the reality is, compared to the perception. The Web is just as "structured": Someone on AOL pretty much traverses the AOL-branded part s of the Internet; someone who relies on Yahoo! does the same. This applies even to general genre or lifestyle. It could be that using the mouse/keyboard gives a false appearance of more control than a TV remote.