The media has a strong social and cultural impact upon society. This is predicated on its ability to reach a wide audience and its ability to send strong and influential messages. By creating an image which appeals to the youth, the media plays an instrumental role in defining the ways in which the youth conduct themselves.
align=justifyTelevision broadcasting has a significant influence on the content that society watches and the times in which they are viewed. According to Youth Dynamix’s BratTrax 2007/8 study, television is the most influential medium in the youth markets. The study found that, among seven to 15 year olds, there is a higher awareness of messages seen or heard on television (95%), followed by radio at 45%.
align=justifyAccording to Martin Lindstrom, youth globally engage with 5.4 channels simultaneously and the Youth Dynamix BratTrax 2007/8 research illustrates that South African youth engage in 2.8 channels simultaneously. Not only are youth multi-tasking, they are selective in their choice of media and which type of communication they choose to interact with.
align=justifyAlthough traditional media has the potential for high influence and penetration, it is clear that there is a need to use new and more alternative communication platforms for youth in order to drive communication messages through and beyond the clutter.
align=justifyThe development of the internet has challenged the traditional participation habits involved in media like television. The internet has lifted some of the restrictions placed on society by allowing for diversification of political opinions, social and cultural differences, a heightened level of consumer participation and – most importantly – it has given marketers new avenues with which to interact with consumers. According to Lindstrom, some 45.7% of all urban tweens world wide use the internet regularly. In South Africa, 33% of the youth use the internet.
align=justifyCell phone penetration is higher than internet penetration within this age group. About 61% of urban tweens in South Africa own a cell phone, and 26% of these list MXit as one of the primary uses of their cell phone. This illustrates the importance of social networking among this age group, and indicates a need for teens to constantly be engaged with each other and the world around them.
align=justifyYouth are exposed to more and more media options, which have led to greater media clutter and greater choice of options. This has made the youth more media savvy – and fickle – than any generation before them. Therefore, utilising a holistic and 360Ã‚Â° integrated approach to communication media has become relevant and necessary.