I think the following report was originally from The Economist, 23 August 2007 edition:
AT FIRST glance, the annual survey of the communications market by Ofcom, Britain’s telecoms regulator, makes comforting reading for traditional-media executives looking for their future customers. Not only are children spending more time consuming media than their older siblings did just a few years ago, but they are also consuming more types. Three-quarters of British 11-year-olds now have their own television set, video-games player and mobile phone.
But this is where the comfort stops, because kids are abandoning old and not-so-old media for the new. Whereas two years ago 59% of those aged 8 to 15 regularly watched videos, only 38% do now. Two years ago 61% regularly played video games compared with 53% today. Most are abandoning stand-alone media, such as DVDs, and turning instead to media such as the internet and in particular social-networking websites. The trend seems to accelerate as children move into their teenage years. Nearly two-thirds of children between the ages of 12 and 15 use the internet, compared with 41% of those aged 8 to 11.
“Children are going from being media agnostic to media junkies in a very short period of time, and the early teen years is when that is changing,” says James Thickett, director of research at Ofcom. Britain is leading trends, rather than following them, he adds. Strikingly, 7% of ten-year-olds have a webcam, so their experience of the online world is video-based rather than simply typing at a keyboard; among children aged 13 to 15, the number jumps to 15%. One reason is the proliferation of fast internet connections. Half of British households had broadband by the end of 2006, up from one in ten in late 2003.
This has perilous implications for traditional media such as television and radio, where advertising spending is falling. Online advertising revenue increased 47% last year. It now draws in almost half as much as television does and a quarter as much as print media. Yet there is some hope. Pay-television subscriptions increased last year, even though average time spent watching the box fell, suggesting that despite the many distractions, consumers are still willing to pay a premium to watch what they want. The trick traditional media can’t afford to miss is to find a way to get today’s kids to act like mom and pop.