March 14, 2012

Teens and Television: The Facts

One of the characteristics of marketing professionals that makes them so insufferably dim is their obsession with young people.

The fact that over 75% of the wealth of this country is in the hands of people over 50 makes absolutely no difference to them. The fact that young people have no money and are terrible customers means nothing.

They always give you the same answer: "Yeah, but our customers are growing old and where are our new customers going to come from?" As if people at 50 wear the same clothes, drive the same cars, and eat the same food they do at 17.

It's just another offshoot of the idiotic "lifetime value" delusion that assumes once you get a customer you have her for life.

Because of this obsession, the media habits of young people are especially fascinating to marketing people.

Every time I write something about the resiliency of TV, I get very predictable comments from knuckleheads who think they understand young people and want to explain their behaviors to me.

They tell me how Luddite dinosaurs like me just don't get it. They say that, sure TV is still popular with old farts, but young people have no interest in it and are spending their time with Facebook and YouTube and mobile devices and couldn't care less about TV.

Of course, their arguments usually turn out to be ad hominem nonsense with no data to confirm their assertions. But that never bothers them.

So, just to set these people straight, let's have a look at the facts about teen television usage as reported by Nielsen and The Los Angeles Times:
  • TV viewing is more popular than ever among teens
  • I'm going to repeat that. TV viewing is more popular than ever among teens 
  • Just for the heck of it, let's say it one more time. TV viewing is more fucking popular than ever among teens. Any questions?
  • Teens watch about 4 hours of TV a day, on average 
  • TV viewing among teens is up an astonishing 33% in the past 8 years
According to Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. senior analyst Todd Juenger...
"...everybody over-reports usage of Internet and mobile video and under-reports usage of traditional television." 
Hmm...where have we heard that before?

Contrary to all the nonsense promulgated by web hustlers, not only are teens not abandoning television, but...
"So far teens are following historical patterns and in fact their usage of traditional TV is increasing," Juenger said.
Next time some ignorant web monkey or genius marketing pundit tells you that young people don't watch TV, kindly kick him in the ass for me.

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