If 'what women want' is a question that the universe claims there's no answer to, then brands are relentlessly trying to uncover the mystery of 'what the youth wants'. One is witness to discussions at forums on how the youth is a fickle, intolerant and fastidious target group. MTV Insight Studio, the research arm of MTV India, tries to excavate a few facts about the youth and their idea of entertainment.
The study suggests that the days of one source for recreation or entertainment are passť. The trend among the 15-24 year olds is to seek entertainment in whatever they do. MTV has coined terminologies based on the findings. Entertainment, the study says, is constanTainment, as youngsters are looking for it 24x7; and multiTainment, youth consuming more than one form of entertainment simultaneously - while some exist in the background, others are the centre of attention.
Entertainment has been replaced by megaTainment, as the youth is influenced by hype and attractive packaging. GangTainment, as they prefer a source of entertainment that lets them be in a group. Gizmos, gadgets, being wire-free, upgraded, high-tech and updated are essentials for this intolerant lot. There is also a high level of anxiety about new things - to own and experience them. From talking on the phone, it's now about talking about the phone.
The young consumers, the study shows, are no longer looking at entertainment to fight boredom and look for forms of recreation that are proactive and engaging at any given time, enhance their image and are utility driven.
While there are television channels and social networking channels that are vying for the youth's attention, so are hookah parlours and gaming consoles.
While in the metros the youth spend lesser time watching TV, in the small towns, it is still an important form of entertainment. Young people in metros are showing a preference for the multimedia screen that is far more dynamic - however, TV dominates. While small town youth prefer to watch games shows and daily soaps (Dus Ka Dum, Balika Vadhu), youth in metros prefer the action and adventure variety (Roadies, Fear Factor). Live sports is one entertainment property that they catch on TV.
Youth still spend a lot of time on mass media. Among those interviewed, it was found that about 48 hours a month is spent on watching TV, while 28 hours a month was spent in reading magazines, books or newspapers; 24 hours per month on an average are spent in listening to music; 15 hours a month are spent on social networking sites and 13 hours a month in chatting on the Internet. Watching TV, listening to music and hanging out with friends emerged as the top three most preferred activities of the youth interviewed.
The study classifies brands in entertainment into two groups - entertainment brands and brands that entertain. Entertainment brands are those which fit in the space of entertainment, embody entertainment values and the entertainment value of these brands goes beyond the simple classical realm of entertainment.
Brands that entertain do not fit in the space of entertainment but play a role in entertainment through their activities. These brands may not have core entertainment values but are about image and youth symbolism and are slowly becoming associated with entertainment through their activities and initiatives.
Youth relate certain brands with certain activities. For instance, Samsung and Nokia, the respondents thought, had a good fit with game shows and contests, while the likes of Coke, Pepsi and Mountain Dew fit with activities such as college festivals, outdoor and adventure activities and brands such as Kingfisher and Lakme had a fit with fashion shows and makeover activities.
While brands such as Nike, Adidas, Levi's and Pepe are not within the contemporary space of entertainment, they still display some core values that the youth respond to. They display youth symbolism. Others such as Kingfisher and L'Oreal have basic preciousness and glamour, which is now being strengthened through activities.
The study describes youth behaviour as being guided by different needs of being active, satisfying curiosity, gaining information, impressing friends, being technology savvy, fulfilling fantasies, being engaged and multitasking.