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Bill Gillies - Editor

Aussie teens much the same as those in UK


Last week in the UK a report from stockbroker Morgan Stanley by 15-year-old schoolboy Matthew Robson caused a sensation. The report raised serious questions about the outlook for newspapers, free-to-air television and other traditional media. Inspired by Robson’s arguments, the Australian Business Spectator asked its 15-year-old intern Scott Guthrie whether teenagers down under had the same views.  The short answer:  Yes.  Here are some snippets that are sure to make shareholders in old media companies weep:


Radio

As Matthew Robson said last week, most teenagers nowadays do not listen actively to the radio. It has effectively become obsolete with the coming of the internet and the creation of sites such as last.fm and Myspace Music, which provide a practically on-demand music service with no uninteresting DJs chatting – and also no ads.

Television

The amount of television viewed varies greatly from person to person in terms of what interests them, what other entertainment sources they have access to. Also, as Robson pointed out, it depends a lot on what TV shows are currently in season. Many of the people I spoke to favour downloading TV shows or streaming them online rather than actually watching them live on the TV.

Newspapers

Only a handful of my friends read newspapers, and practically all of this number would disappear if they didn’t have their parents to buy them. Breakfast is the one and only place for teenagers to read the paper, and this is simply because it is much less awkward than having a computer on the table surfing news sites while you eat your cereal. Although some teenagers do read newspapers, they would not pay for them with their own money – it’s a novelty that is bought by their parents.

Internet and social media

The internet is one of the most used media sources in a teenager’s life and, as Robson said, Facebook is the most popular site, with most of the teenagers checking up at least once a day to see what their friends are doing. Other social networking sites such as Bebo, Hi5 and Friendster are virtually unheard of in Australia. Myspace is popular, but usually only from around the ages of 12-14, this is because it has a high level of customisation of profiles that Facebook doesn’t offer and also a music service. However, once teenagers grow out of this and just want a social networking site, Facebook proves to be a much better service. Twitter is hardly used at all by teenagers, and when it is, it is solely for the use of ‘stalking’ celebrities. The few friends of mine who have joined Twitter have quickly discovered, like Robson said, that no-one was reading their ‘tweets’ and they failed to see the point in it, due to the fact that Facebook already has a similar features (‘status update’) and a larger proportion of their friends use it, they deserted Twitter and returned to their original set-up.

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