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Young Men on the Horizon

Jan 3, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Many advertisers are trying to figure out how to reach young male consumers, and a new report from Horizon Media might help them pursue their elusive quarry more intelligently.
This group-from age six to 34-is hard to reach partly because they spend more time with non-traditional media and are well-known as multitaskers, according to Horizon research guru Brad Adgate.
Boys today are growing up faster, live more structured lives and are exposed to more mature media content than the generations before them, Mr. Adgate said. At the same time, as they age, they get to resist becoming adults, putting off college graduation, starting careers and getting married. Some have been known to return home to live with their parents.
In his report, Mr. Adgate points to research from the Kaiser Family Foundation that showed that males aged eight to 18 consume 8 hours and 38 minutes worth of media per day, but do it in only 6 hours and 22 minutes. This means that more than a quarter of their time is spent using multiple media simultaneously.
Young males watch a lot of television, The Kaiser report found that more than half of those eight to 18 year olds have no TV restrictions placed on them by their families. The set is on during meals 63 percent of the time and 48 percent of those responding said the TV is on constantly.
Despite this they tend to watch less TV than people in other demographic groups. And they tend to watch more as they get older. Older males-in the 18-34 bracket-spend most of their time in front of media on one screen or another. Those 24 and younger spend more time playing video games and are online more than those 25-54, but neither group spends a significant amount of time with print media, either newspapers or magazines.
The Horizon report said that for the 6-11, 12-17 and 18-34 year old age grouping used by Nielsen Media Research, prime time is still the most-watched daypart. But it is not the fastest growing.
The fastest growing dayparts over the past 10 years were early morning and overnight for men 18-34, while overnight and late night grew most among teens and boys.
All of these age groups were shifting to ad-supported cable, with the youngest groups least likely to watch broadcast networks.
Among adults 18-34, the top rated networks are Adult Swim, ESPN, TBS, TNT, Comedy Central and FX. Among teens, the highest-rated cable networks were Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, Nickelodeon, other Cartoon Network shows, Nick at Nite, MTV and Comedy Central. For boys, the top cable networks were Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and its Adult Swim features, Nick at Night, ABC Family, Toon Disney and Animal Planet.
Mr. Adgate noted a recent Pew Research survey that found that most male teens are downloading content, both music and video. Thirty-three percent of male teens 12-14 have downloaded video, according to the study.
The number rises to 42 percent among teens 15-17 years old.
For these reasons marketers are moving away from traditional media, although television, especially niche television, remains very popular.
“Marketers realize the age groups are ‘early adopters’ of new technology and are now embarking upon other strategies involving new communications channels,” Mr. Adgate said in his report. “While these non-traditional channels are not mass-reach vehicles, they are niche, grassroots and hyper-targeted.”
Some non-traditional opportunities are place-based, such as kiosks, point-of-sale displays, extreme sports tie-ins and event marketing. Others including adver-gaming, text messaging, mobile video, satellite radio, video-on-demand and cinema advertising.
Online opportunities include social networks, online games, e-mails, blogs, video blogs, viral marketing, web radio, podcasts, Webzines, broadband media and other consumer generated media.
Young consumers can also be reached with coupons, sweepstakes, frequent buyer cards, rebates contest and product giveaways.
Whatever the media, the message must be appropriate.
“Creative messages for young males can be racier than mainstream for media,” Mr. Adgate said. For many boys and male teens, however, the ads should also appeal to and target parents, he said.
Other strategies include being straight and honest.
“They are very adept at seeing a sales ‘spin,” Mr. Adgate said. It’s also not a good idea to portray young men as buffoons.
Concepts should be visual and video should show the product in the ad message, he said.
This article is part of TVWeek.com’s Media Planner newsletter, a weekly source of breaking news, trend articles, profiles and data about media planning edited by Senior Editor Jon Lafayette.

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