July 24, 2003 9:20 AM PDT

Web marketing sells like teen spirit

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Smart marketers will use the Web if they want to harness some of that teen spirit, according to a new study on media consumption among young people.

A survey by Yahoo and media services company Carat North America found that the Web trumps television, radio and books among young adults ages 13 to 24.

The study found that young adults spend more time on the Web than with any other media source and are not likely to be partial to one medium, as older generations are. Teenagers surveyed spent an average of 16.7 hours online per week, excluding e-mail. The next most popular medium was television, which teens turned to 13.6 hours per week, followed by radio, which took up 12 hours of a typical teen's week.

"The findings of our joint study confirm that the media landscape is shifting," Wenda Harris Millard, chief sales officer of Yahoo, said in a statement. "This generation is a revolutionary consumer group, actively in control and entrenched in their media experience, and their patterns will influence the future of media spending."

The study surveyed more than 2,500 young adults through online interviews and focus groups.

Researchers found that young adults preferred the Web, mainly because they liked the control it gave them over their media experience. The study also found that, instead of being intimidated by a wide variety of media offerings, as older adults tend to be, today's young adults welcome the influx and are more likely to use multiple media sources at one time than any other generation.

The study comes as Yahoo kicks off its "Born to be Wired: Understanding the First Wired Generation" conference at its Sunnyvale, Calif., headquarters on Thursday. At the conference, marketers and media experts will examine the media consumption habits and lifestyle of today's youth, which have turned into a hot market for some tech companies.

Microsoft, for example, has launched a NetGen division, a team of 12 recent college graduates located in downtown Seattle, who have been working to develop products for people between 13 and 24. In February, the division began testing a vastly different version of the MSN instant-messaging software that contains new features that appear to appeal to teens and young adults.


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