Teenagers are more loyal to specific content than the channels that deliver it, according to a new study by iProspect. The study, based on a survey of teenagers ages 13 to 18, found that most teens (79%) still like to consume their favorite TV content on their home television set. This is followed by 60% who prefer a theater, 59% who prefer Netflix, 53% who prefer Youtube, and 34% who prefer cable/satellite.
“Teens are still engaging at a high level,” says Rachel Lewis, senior strategist at iProspect. “What’s important to keep in mind is that they’re agnostic in terms of system; teens are engaging on numerous platforms, but content is key.”
The study concludes that teen viewership habits often change on a whim. Therefore, marketers need to be agile and adapt to these changes quickly in real time, while producing entertaining and engaging content. Ninety percent of teens still use TV as their primary source of entertainment information, but social media is rising.
Referring to content about TV shows and movies such as South Park and Teen Mom, Lewis says that marketers need to keep in mind timeliness and relevancy when targeting teenage viewers, not just during commercial breaks, but also—and especially—online.
“Content is consumed quickly then moved on from,” Lewis says. “Marketers need contingency plans in place to react to these changes. It’s important to keep in mind that [content] needs to be shareable, and that’s the biggest thing with social marketing—it’s how to get content into loyalists’ hands to make them want to share it with their networks.”
And teens will share compelling content. Of the 81% of teens that use social network sites, 44% percent will “like” their favorite TV network on Facebook. Meanwhile, 79% percent of teens will engage with their favorite content across social media sites.
“Teens want to engage with brands on their own terms,” Lewis says. “[They] can sniff out disingenuous social presences from brands. It’s important to know…how they want to engage with [your content].”
While the convenience and instant gratification of services such as Netflix is attractive to the teenage audience, Lewis says the television set isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
“I don’t think TV is going away,” Lewis says. “If you look at how TV has changed in the last 50 years there are many parallels for how the digital space has changed. There used to be three channels and over time [we’ve seen] tons of new networks and niche networks. The TV space [is now] extremely fragmented. Online marketers can learn [to better segment and target teens] a little bit from the history of TV in that sense.”