A new global study undertaken by MTV and Nickelodeon, in association with Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions, explains how children and young people interact with digital technology. It also challenges traditional assumptions about their relationships with digital technology while examining the impact of culture, age and gender on technology use.
The ‘Circuits of Cool/Digital Playground’ study has surveyed 18,000 children and youth from 16 countries, including China, India, Australia and New Zealand.
Bill Roedy, Vice Chairman of MTV Networks, which is a unit of Viacom Inc. said, “Digital technology is impacting every aspect of content creation across Nickelodeon and MTV channels. Our groundbreaking report highlights our commitment to engaging with kids and young people globally. It will help us build stronger and more innovative alliances with business partners across our 137 TV channels and 260 web and mobile services.”
The report shows that globally, the average young person connected to digital technology has 94 phone numbers in his or her mobile, 78 people on a messenger buddy list, and 86 people in their social networking community. Yet, despite their technological immersion, digi-kids are not geeks -- 59 per cent of eight-14 year-olds still prefer their TV to their PCs, and only 20 per cent of 14-24 year-olds globally admitted to being ‘interested’ in technology. They are, however, expert multi-taskers and are able to filter different channels of information.
According to Ashish Patil, General Manager, and Vice President-Creative and Content, MTV, believes that technology is touching and changing our lives in every possible way. He said, “Right from the way we consume music and media, to the way we connect with our audiences, MTV has always been wired into the youth. Not just reflecting them, but also leading them. Our single-minded focus on this fast changing group is what helps us stay ahead of the curve. And we do this by investing serious time, effort and resources in research. The ‘Circuits of Cool/Digital Playground’ study is one such initiative that gives us a serious deep dive into the impact of technology on our audience. It will be the basis for us to deliver ‘multi-platformication’, i.e., delivering MTV across platforms -- TV, online, mobile and more, in true MTV style.”
‘Circuits of Cool/Digital Playground’ found that technology’s greatest impact has been on the depth and range of friends that 14-24-year-olds have. From having an average 11 friends between the ages of eight-14 years, young people speedily acquire circles of dozens of friends in their teenage years. Many of the 14-24-year-olds surveyed said that the different forms of communication enabled them to talk about more intimate subjects than they would have otherwise done. Over half said that they could talk about more things on IM than face-to-face, 53 per cent said that they could get to know people better, while around four out of every 10 said that they found it easier to make new friends and felt less lonely as a result of using the Internet.
Rajnish, Head of Digital Marketing Revenue and Strategic Business, Windows Live and MSN India, explained, “Young people in India are among the fastest in Asia today to embrace digital technology to express themselves and connect with multiple communities. While the growth of mobile and digital technology in India is driven largely by the urban youth, we will gradually see this trend move beyond the urban youth and involve the youth in the rural regions of the country. This global study will enable us to understand how young people worldwide come together with digital technology and how advertisers can reach this highly influential audience.”
The survey also shows that advertisers and content companies wishing to evolve and engage with children and youth audiences need to understand the changes taking place in how children and young people lead their lives.
Andrew Davidson, Vice President of VBS International Insight, MTV Networks International, said, “In an age when young people influence each other as much as marketers do, friends are becoming as important as brands. Kids have much more power to influence each other. You need to be interesting enough for kids and young people to bother to talk about you. You need to be remarkable. If not, you won’t be respected -- that’s what some brands get wrong.”
The survey revealed a strong dynamic between TV and the Internet, especially for 14-24-year-olds. Young people watch TV for stress relief -- 60 per cent of the sample said they watched most of their TV lying down. The Internet, on the other hand, is cognitive and active, especially if children are using it for homework or social situations. This study has not only enabled to understand how the core audience are engaged in new media technology in every region, but has also empowered to help advertisers to find best marketing solutions to effectively target children and youth in Asia Pacific.