Teens Customizing Online Media

NEW YORK Teens in several countries were found to expect personalization options when it comes to consuming media, according to a new study.

The research, undertaken by Yahoo and OMD, examined the media habits of 5,000 teens and young adults in six countries. It found teens highly engaged in community and self-expression, two traits not new to the young in previous generations, said Michele Madansky, vice president of corporate and sales research at Yahoo.

“The big shift over the last 10 years has been personalizing their media experience,” she said.

In the U.S. market, 54 percent said they had downloaded music in the past month. The study found music plays an important role in this generation’s connections with peers, acting as “the universal language of youth.” Over 80 percent of U.S. respondents choose music as the No. 1 choice of what they do for fun in their free time.

The Internet was chosen as the most important medium for youth in all countries. In the U.S., it trumped TV and cell phones as the medium that they “couldn’t live without.” Globally, the Internet trumped TV as the medium of choice for most categories, such as sports, music and movie reviews, while TV scored higher for comedy. The proliferation of media options has led to multitasking, with youth engaging in two to four additional activities while online or watching TV, the study found.

Madansky predicted that marketers would need to adjust to reach what Yahoo terms the “My Media” generation.

“There will be newer forms of advertising that do take advantage of the interactivity and the community and the personalization,” she said. “That’s a challenge for everybody.”