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MTV finds Indian youth 'in beta'

News, 03 May 2016

MUMBAI: India's youth are opinionated and empowered by technology but at the same time regard themselves as "beta versions" of their future selves, according to a new report by MTV.

The media channel's Many Me study surveyed 11,000 people aged between 13 and 25 across more than 50 cities over a six-month period using a mix of qualitative and quantitative research methods.

The report described them as being "in the beta stages, ripe for testing, rectifying and remoulding".

One might think that was potentially the case for youth anywhere, but Ferzad Palia, Head – Youth and English Entertainment at Viacom18, said the study showed them to be "fascinatingly multi-faceted … For them, multitasking isn't enough, they want to be multi-achievers."

And the great majority are seeking out inspiration (82%) to help them with this goal and said they needed to feel motivated every day (78%).

This in turn colours their views on entertainment and content, with older respondents (18-25) especially likely to want material that does more than simply fill time. Two thirds of this age group (63%), for example, agreed that they learned about coping with tricky situations through the characters and storylines of their favourite shows.

Similarly, six in ten preferred to be challenged by the content they were consuming, whether that was by plot twists or a unique story. "They're just as discerning about what they don't consume, as what they do," the study said.

They were, however, wide-reaching in where they discovered and viewed that content. TV remains, for now, the main channel for this age group. Some 36% found new shows on TV and only watched them there.

But 27%, having found a show on TV, then went online to watch it or download it, while 10% only ever found and watched content online. A further 18% discovered content online but watched it on television.

The study also noted a major shift over the past two years in how India's youth regard technology.

In 2014, this was primarily about convenience (21%) and information (16%) but in 2016 those drivers have been superseded by the power of choice (32%).

Data sourced from MTV, Afaqs!; additional content by Warc staff