Twitter ain't cool, British teenager tells global investors
A 15-year-old Briton has set the financial world abuzz with a research note penned for a major US bank in which he reveals teenagers' media habits -- including that Twitter is just not cool.
Matthew Robson wrote the report while on work experience with US bank Morgan Stanley in London, and the result was described by his boss, Edward Hill-Wood, as "one of the clearest and most thought-provoking insights we have seen".
The research note -- which has been circulated to Morgan Stanley clients -- reveals that while teenagers consume a huge variety of media, from television to computer games to the Internet and music, they are unwilling to pay for it.
He also says that while teenagers are keen users of social-networking site Facebook, there is little interest in Twitter, the micro-blogging service beloved of celebrities including Hollwood actress Demi Moore.
"Teenagers do not use Twitter," he wrote.
While many sign up for it, texting Twitter messages uses up mobile phone credit and they would rather use that for normal text messages, he wrote. Plus, no one views their profiles so the tweets are "pointless".
A source at Morgan Stanley in London told AFP on Tuesday that there had been a "phenomenal" response to the research paper, which was sent to specialist investors in the media sector around the world.
"We thought it would be interesting to clients, sent it out and they thought it was great. It's very different from the normal type of research," the source said, adding it was highly unusual for the bank to compile a report this way.
Robson, from Greenwich in southeast London, texted a few friends to get ideas for the research paper, which was reportedly written in one day.
"Teenagers listen to a lot of music, mostly whilst doing something else," he wrote, but added: "They are very reluctant to pay for it."
They rarely listen to the radio or buy CDs, preferring to use websites that stream music or to download it illegally. Most teens view paying even 79 pence (1.30 dollars, 90 euro cents) for a song on iTunes as too expensive.
Robson says teenagers watch television but do not have time to watch regular programmes, particularly when they can watch them afterwards online.
Morgan Stanley makes no claims for the report's statistical vigour.
But in a preface, it says teenagers are "at the vanguard of this digital revolution" and as a result it "seems an excellent way of assessing how the media landscape will evolve".
Robson also derides traditional print media such as newspapers and phone directories and says his peers have no time for outdoor advertising or banner ads on websites, preferring instead viral marketing.
The report concludes with a helpful list of what is hot and what is not: anything with a touch screen, mobile phones with large capacity for music and "really big tellies" are desirable. "Anything with wires", however, is not.
(c) 2009 AFP