Posted July 14, 2009 10:21 am by with 17 comments

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Morgan StanleyHonestly, I am not sure what to make of this. Bloomberg has reported that Morgan Stanley, at least its European arm, has produced a report with insights into the mind of one Matthew Robson. He is a 15 year old intern at the securities firm (doing what I might ask?). Apparently this young man has the pulse of every teenager regardless of economic background etc when it comes to how they consume media.

The schoolboy was asked by the bank’s European media analysts to report on what he and his peers look for in the information-entertainment industries. What they got was one of the “clearest and most thought-provoking insights we have seen,” the analysts said.

“Teenagers are consuming more media, but in entirely different ways and are almost certainly not prepared to pay for it,” Morgan Stanley analysts Edward Hill-Wood, Patrick Wellington and Julien Rossi said in a note, citing Robson.

My question is where are the rest of the voices to back this up? I am not thinking that this youngster is wrong. In fact, his insights certainly seem to make sense. For a firm like Morgan Stanley, though, to parade one European teenager’s view on new media in a report as ‘the word’ is pretty weak.

While I am way past my teenage years I wouldn’t want just one person from my current demographic group to be representative of my views. Media is a very personal thing and the nuances from one user to the next can be considerable. Sure there are likely to be trends but those things are determined responsibly with a larger set of subjects than …… one.

Here’s some of what the boy wonder had to say

Among Robson’s insights: Teenagers don’t twitter; they resent intrusive advertising on billboards, television and the Internet and they are willing to chase content and music across platforms and devices such as mobile phones and Apple Inc.’s IPod. They do not listen to the radio, preferring music Websites that stream music for free and allow them to choose their songs. They are “very reluctant” to pay for music and 80 percent download it illegally. Most have never bought a CD, he says.

What conclusions did I draw from this? Well, nothing that helps my business sense other than if he has the pulse of this group they appear to be a group that won’t pay for much and are just fine with breaking the law to get what they want. That’s so encouraging.

Some more wisdom that was passed along:

  • Newspapers and other print media are “irrelevant,” while movies and music concerts remain popular and are one of the “few beneficiaries of payment,” the report said.
  • Teenagers from higher-income families use iPods, while those from lower-income families use mobile phones to listen to music
    Every teenager has access to the Internet, be it at school or at home, and most of them are “heavily active” on several social networking sites with Facebook being the most common
  • Teenagers don’t use Twitter, the short-form Web messaging service, adding they realize that their ‘tweets’ are pointless as no one is viewing their profile
  • In his own summary on “what is hot,” Robson says it includes “anything with a touch screen,” “mobile phones with large capacities for music,” “portable devices that can connect to the Internet such as iPhones” and “really big” television sets.

This report elicited about 6 times the response over other reports according to Morgan Stanley. I wonder whether these ‘responses’ were in praise of this ‘in depth’ survey or bewilderment that the company is now using 15 year old interns to influence markets.

Your take?

  • If the report was written by a Morgan Stanley intern of 28 years old, no one would care and he probably would be fired for not having reliable data to support his claims! As it’s a 15 year old it becomes more credible, because he’s an insider, I suppose.

    His claims do make sense and I don’t doubt that they aren’t for from portraying a real picture of the relationship between teens and media. I’ve only one question though: doesn’t anyone in Morgan Stanley, and the other companies that were baffled by the memo, remembers what is like being a teenager?

    Bruno Ribeiro’s last blog post..Adolescente Britânico Demonstra a Ignorância e Credulidade das Empresas

  • you have a typo in the title

    roy morejon’s last blog post..Social Media Summer School

  • @Roy Morejon Thanks for the heads up! Looks like I need to pay more attention myself!;-)

    Frank Reed’s last blog post..Happy 4th of July and THANK YOU!

  • There seems to be a huge rift between marketers these days. The ones that are Internet savvy and the ones that aren’t. We Internet savvy folks parade our ideas and jump up and down to get our voices heard. We rejoice even at the slightest hint of acknowledgement from our offline veterans.

    In the end, it takes one teenager from England to get in front of a few Marketing execs. His anecdotes carry more weight than the months and years’ worth of empirical data that we’ve been showing them for years.


    jlbraaten’s last blog post..New Website ROI Tips: Online Goal Setting

  • So who is this mysterious 15-year-old whizz kid? What kind of background does he have? Where’s his research to back up his claims? These are all questions anybody over the age of say, twenty, would have asked of them. And yet Morgan-Stanley are taking unsupported claims as gospel, now? That is not to say that Mr. Robsen’s claims are unfounded. Some of them seem to ring very true, but what shocks me is the lack of supporting evidence or research Morgan-Stanley are producing or researching now, having gone for this report whole-heartedly.

  • more than an insight it is an analysis that plays down right about the teenage market so maybe that got it highlighted. On the other hand ummmm could be a publicity tactic. In this world, you never know lolzz

    write a writing’s last blog post..Learn Business Writing: A Few Commandments

  • And we care what 15 year old unpaid interns think because….? I’m not surprised that people with no job or income don’t want to pay for things and resent ads. Most kids generation to generation have thought that way. Once they get a job and bills to pay and disposable income, suddenly they give a damn about advertising, paying for services and general common logic. Heck, go back several decades to the 60’s, how many of those youngsters who thought possessions were irrelevant are now investment bankers?

    I find this information about consumer concepts, even if on a large cross section of teenagers, irrelevant. I’d find information from people 4-5 years older highly important, but 15 year olds… pointless.

    I find the comment about liking large TVs pretty laughable. Because 15 year olds have several grand sitting around to buy one. Hah!

    Terry Howard’s last blog post..Formula For Success

  • As being a little closer to this intern’s age than many professionals, I would agree with his insights. However, looking from a professional view point, he lacks the proof, research, and credentials to back it up–there’s got to be more than one voice to support these claims. Perhaps if he was doing research polling hundreds of teens or this was based on some other factual based research it would be more acceptable.

  • ***I agree with *many* of his insights, not all.

  • Dean

    Mr. Robson’s full report is here:

    The fact that Senior analysts at the investment bank were so impressed by his clear and “thought provoking” piece (much of which is pretty common knowledge I think) is stupifying. Kids don’t read newspapers? Hell, no one reads newspapers anymore. Kid’s like big TVs’? You mean kids don’t like 13 inch B&Ws??? Shocking!

    Senior Analysts at Morgan Stanley were wowed by this astute insight???? These people are supposed to be smart right???? Kids like big TVs???? Really????

    There’s something disturbingly not right with this but if these are the same guys managing my money I am seriously f’d 🙂

  • I agree with *many* of his insights, not all.

    crille’s last blog post..Välkommen till

  • Sounds like a real life sequel to the movie “Big”. I guess Morgan Stanley is as desperate as anyone during these tough economic times. But seriously, what are they thinking? Not that the young man doesn’t have some valid points…from his perspective. True market research is founded on more than one person’s opinions. Perhaps this is a demographic that they have been ignoring and that is why they are in such awe over one young man’s comments. I’d say they’re not managing their companies very well.

  • Feels like Morgan Stanley conversation bait to me.

    Jaan Kanellis’s last blog post..Hey Dennis Kneale, Bloggers Do Not Equal Anonymity, Duh

  • I completely agree with the insights the young teenager has made, but I think they are fairly obvious, whether he is 15 or 45. I think Morgan Stanley’s intetntions of this report has been met…its gone viral.

    Eric Ungs’s last blog post..Book Review: Me 2.0 ; Guidline to Personal Branding Success

  • I am 21 years old, a little older but a lot closer to his demographic than most people in SEO/SEM type work. Twitter is booming, more and more people cave everyday to join twitter, more and more competitions/free give aways happen, and IMO Twitter is just gaining force in the younger age groups.

    Another aspect that is has brought life to Twitter is mobile phone apps, and accessibility. Almost all of my friends who have smart phones with apps, use Twitter. Granite you can use text message updates with Twitter not as many use it. The better the Twitter apps that come out, it seems the more people get on board.

    Lol someone should give me an intern job or compensation for writing social media marketing reports >_<

    Dustin Ma’s last blog post..r34lRockNRolla: @MissKRYP2NT but Asian’s buy that… and more power for asian’s = deadlier/crazier/more insane car accidents…

  • Thankfully someone could speak some sense!

    Frank I agree – so the guy interviews some friends – so what???!?! I could tell you teens don’t twitter, but my name ain’t flashing all over the internet!

    Just another case of “Social media” being manipulated by the rich and influential!!! Gimme a break!

    Scott Gould’s last blog post..Digitall, Digicool, Digitool and Diginots

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