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More Evidence of TV's Disconnect with Youth

Like television for a previous generation, the Internet is quickly becoming the principal mode of information and communication for today's youth. Young people now turn to the Internet to read the news, chat with their friends, play games, download music, and to shop.

To better understand how this generation views the Internet, and to explore how these views vary across cultures, IDC, in conjunction with RKM Research and Communications, recently completed an innovative study of 15- to 24-year olds in the United States, Brazil, and Russia.

The implications of the strength of the Internet versus television as a communication medium are significant for media and advertisers alike as they try to find a balance between the more static pushed content and user-generated or user-controlled content.

Using both explicit and implicit measures of attitude and behavior, IDC measured the strength of association between the Internet, television, and key positive and negative attributes among youth of the three countries. In general, the study found relatively strong associations between television and the negative concepts presented (e.g., inconvenient, boring, etc.).

In contrast, the associations with the Internet tended to be positive (e.g., fun, necessary, etc.), although weaker than the associations between television and the negative concepts. Translation: young adults apparently have a very strong negative opinion regarding the current state of traditional broadcast television. Meaning, all the more reason why forward-looking IPTV services should not attempt to merely imitate this legacy TV consumer experience.

"The growing acceptance of the Internet as a central fixture in the lives of young people has significant economic implications, provided that future Internet adopters continue to view the Internet as safe," said Carol Glasheen, vice president of IDC's Quantitative Research Group. "Much of this success will depend on the ability of advertisers and marketers to understand and address the perceptions and concerns of the current youth population."

In comparisons across the three countries, Brazilian Internet-savvy youth use the Internet more on a daily basis than do American or Russian youth, although American youth are more likely to use the Internet every day. Nearly all Russian Internet-savvy youth use the Internet to obtain news, while they tend to shop online less than their Brazilian and American counterparts.

Among the implicit findings, American Internet-savvy youth have generally weaker associations with the Internet than do Brazilian or Russian youth, suggesting that American youth may actually take the Internet for granted.

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