US Teens are not dumping TV for Twitter

29 June 2009

NEW YORK: American teenagers are an attentive audience who enjoy a rich mix of new and traditional media just like their parents, according to a new Nielsen report.

How Teens Use Media dispels the myth of a digital generation hooked on Twitter and YouTube, and instead finds a group that watches 6% more television that it did five 5 years ago and spends less time browsing the internet than adults – 11.5 hours per month compared to the 25-34 year-old average of nearly 30 hours.

They similarly spend a third less time than 25-34 year olds watching online video, but their ad recall of internet video ads is higher than for traditional TV.

Preferred TV shows, websites and genres across media are broadly in line with those of their parents, with American Idol, Google and general dramas coming out top of those surveyed.

Concerns about overly violent video games like the Grand Theft Auto series are also put into perspective by news that only two of the last five most anticipated games since 2005 have carried the  restricted rating of "Mature". 

"Looking at our research across markets and media, we see that, contrary to popular assumption, teens are actually pretty normal in their usage, and more attentive than most give them credit for," concluded Nic Covey, director of insights for The Nielsen Company. "The media experience is broadening for all consumers, not just teens."   

Copies of the full report can be downloaded for free here (pdf). 

Data sourced from Nielsen and Adweek; additional reporting by WARC staff