Young Media Users: If You Think You Know Where They Are Now, You're Probably Wrong
Are they using Facebook? Maybe not so much. Twitter? You could be behind the times.
For years -- decades, actually -- this has been a big issue for traditional media platforms like MTV that cater to those young consumers. Up and down and around and out. Maybe try to figure out where they are with music videos, “Teen Mom,” and the “VMAs.”
And if your company can’t follow the changes you can always merge. Alloy Digital and Break Media, two young-skewing digital video outfits trying to offer stuff for 12-24 years olds, will do just that.
In comparison, broadcast networks are -- what else? -- getting older. They now have an average age of 53. Over a year ago, CW decided that just targeting young women 18-34 wasn’t enough either. It needed to do better with a slightly broader crowd. Thus it launched “Arrow” last year -- a success. And this year it has a few other broader-reaching efforts: “The Originals” and “The Tomorrow People.”
Others -- like the new cable network Pivot, AXS, and the revamped Fox cable network FXX – keep trying to reach young viewers.
Viacom used to talk about how its networks could start with young children on Nick Jr. and hand them off in their teen years to MTV and then in their young adult years to VH1 and Spike.
Nice plan. But as Viacom has seen over the last few years – such as with the eye-opening ratings declines of Nickelodeon -- this can be crazy-hard to maintain. Blame Nielsen, maybe. But you have to keep remembering that young kids and young adults can be a fickle lot. They can also switch media platforms in a second -- make that a click of a favorite digital device.
And so it is with digital media. Young people are not a homogenous group by any means. While much can appeal to their tastes, they don’t click on banner ads. Pre-roll video ads are for gazing into media space or switching to another digital device. And if this doesn’t make the grade, they can probably be found using digital ad-skipping or ad-blocking tools.
Catering to the young is for those energetic media entrepreneurs and executives comfortable with rejection, lack of knowledge, and occasional slivers of wild success.