Media Viewpoint - June'08
Engaging the New Era of Digital Youth
Teens and young adults around the world are multi-tasking like there's no tomorrow. On average, this group of 15 to 24 year olds is a very engaged generation who has grown up with technology at home and at school. They view media such as radio, television and cinema as being for passive relaxation, compared with the Web, which is very dynamic and interactive.
Growing (virtual) circle of friends
A few decades ago it was commonly held that if someone did something ‘good' you'd tell five friends, and if they did something "bad" you'd tell ten people; this was the lore of word-of-mouth.
How things have changed.
From our global research of over 18,000 youths from 16 countries, we found that on average, young people have 20 online friends - these are friends they have met online, and may never meet in-person. This gives a global average of 53 friends that the youth interact with, and in emerging markets such as Brazil, China and India, the number is much higher.
The power of the friendship circle is best seen on the Internet, where information and commentary can be forwarded with the click of the mouse. When we look specifically at highly social opinion leaders for example, who may have 400-500 or more friends in their friend list, we can start to draw the conclusion that people themselves are becoming a medium. Of all the definitions of Web 2.0, I think that the phrase "People are Media" best sums up where we are in terms of social networks.
Impact on digital marketing
Online habits are clearly changing, and this has huge implications when developing digital strategies and measuring digital properties. Industry players must keep pace with these changes and events, such as ad:tech, actively look at issues and challenges that digital marketers face in their quest to harness emerging trends and are ideal platforms for the exchange of ideas and experiences. As a result, industry players have recognized the significance and the potential impact social media is exacting on traditional medium.
The importance of online friends and ‘forwarding culture', the massive growth in social network site usage have significant impact on how content is delivered to the target audiences, going forward.
Faced with the opportunity to reach vast online communities within their ‘sticky' social network sites, and to tap into the power of people forwarding content to their growing number of digital friends, a new model for distributing content has been created.
Social network sites like Facebook offer thousands of applications so that users can customize and personalize their digital space. Many of these apps are content widgets. It is widely held that this content should be available free for the end user, with different methods of monetizing the content created.
We expect to see a lot more content providers offering free programming online that is ad-supported. Media models are being developed and tested, and research is being done to establish threshold levels for advertising exposure. While skeptical of these new models as recently as last year, our industry is recognizing that this is the way forward.
The role of the traditional website has changed dramatically. The definition of a media owner has changed. It is a revolutionary time to be involved with new media. Skeptics beware.
Senior Vice President
MTV Networks Asia
- MTV Networks Asia
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