Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Kids Today: How the Class of 2011 Engages with Media

1993 was a big year. The Mosaic Internet Web browser was launched, NAFTA was signed, Seinfeld won an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series and the high school class of 2011 was born. Nielsen congratulates the class of 2011 and takes look at today’s American teen, raised in an age dominated by media choices like never before—from the Internet to cable channels to web connected devices galore.

Kids Today…
  • Are the Heaviest Mobile Video Viewers: On average, mobile subscribers ages 12-17 watched 7 hours 13 minutes of mobile video a month in Q4 2010, compared to 4 hours 20 minutes for the general population.
  • Are More Receptive to Mobile Advertising than their Elders: More than half (58%) surveyed in September 2010 said they “always” or “sometimes” look at mobile ads.
  • Out-Text All Other Age Groups: In Q1 2011, teens 13-17 sent an average of 3,364 mobile texts per month, more than doubling the rate of the next most active texting demo, 18-24 year olds (1,640 texts per month).
  • Talk Less on the Phone: Besides seniors 65-plus, teens talk the least on their phones, talking an average of 515 minutes per month in Q1 2011 versus more than 750 minutes among 18-24 year olds.
  • Grew Up in the Age of Social Media—and It Shows: While they make up just 7.4 percent of those using social networks, 78.7 percent of 12-17 year olds visited social networks or blogs.
  • Watch Less TV than the General Population: The average American watched 34 hours 39 minutes of TV per week in Q4 2010, a year-over-year increase of two minutes. Teens age 12-17 watch the least amount of TV on average (23 hours 41 minutes per week).
  • Spend Less Time on their Computers: American 18 year olds averaged 39 hours, 50 minutes online from their home computers, of which 5 hours, 26 minutes was spent streaming online video.


  1. AS a high school teacher I can say that this does not surprise me. I have been saying for years now that teens do not watch TV the way we did when we were their age. Sadly that seems to have had a major impact on the soaps...very few tune into them, yet I remember running from the bus to get to the TV in order to watch Guiding Light.

  2. Me too! I got off the bus at 2:15 and Guiding Light came on a 2 so I got to see the last 45 minutes even during the school year (before we got a VCR). But at the same time, I think the stories were worth investing in more then too, so in my mind, it's a combination of different generations and less compelling stories (and less interest on the networks in making the shows consistently good or promoting them).

  3. Roger, I also find that they do not really tune into much TV in general. I had a few who would watch HOUSE or NCIS, but not muc else. Ironically they don't even watch much reality TV, at least not in our rural community.

  4. It's hard for me to imagine why a teenager WOULD be engaged by any of the current network shows. I don't think the 18-34 demo (or younger) ever were drawn in by the cheap ratings stunts (or the expensive ones) of the past 15 years or so. However, all things considered, I'm not sure anyone has the attention span of an hour five days a week anymore. I think a 30 minute character-based show would have more of a chance of building public fascination and viewer loyalty.