Current research says kids and young adults are actually tuning in to more traditional TV shows, TV shows online, and commercial messages than ever before. But are they actually watching more commercials -- or doing something else?
More than other entertainment consumers, this group keeps many activities going at once -- messaging, music, phone, video -- with multiple devices or perhaps multiple windows/screens opened up on their computer.
Right now, youth-targeted marketers can only follow and hope to engage some of these consumers through any number of interactive or social media efforts. But then the chase begins again.
TV programmers may be happy their pre-roll or mid-roll commercials are being watched to completion. But one thing is for sure: If kids, teens, and young adults are playing your commercials, odds are they are doing something else.
Maybe it's worse. Maybe these young adults are not just tuning out TV commercials -- they are probably tuning out some of the content. Of course, they are already looking up the Internet crib versions of "Cat's Cradle" by Kurt Vonnegut for their educational requirements. It may take too much time to read an entire book -- but give them a good six-minute discussion of the book and you've got their attention.
"Their brains are rewarded not for staying on task but for jumping to the next thing," said Michael Rich, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, in an interview with the New York Times.
What are young-targeted marketers really getting for their money?
A few years ago engagement was the big issue for traditionally delivered TV commercials. Some may make the case this problem really hasn't gone away. In fact, with the next generation of TV/video consumers, this issue seems to grow even more important.