Research finds U.K. teens dissing pix

Cinema Expo examines drop in younger auds

As if industryites at Amsterdam’s Cinema Expo don’t already know it, research by Nielsen EDI and the U.K.’s Dubit confirmed Thursday that teens, and boys in particular, are drifting away from theaters.

Additional research undertaken by U.K. exhib Vue showed losses were even more alarming among “moshers,” youths who typically wear hoodies and baggy jeans and listen to metal and punk, turn their noses up at branded goods and are turned off by traditional advertising.

More than any other group, they spend their time online, chatting with friends and swapping files, or hanging out with the gang at a friend’s house.

Don’t rush to invest your advertising cash in TV and computer games, because these teens are spending less time watching the box and gaming, too.

Teens are still important to the biz, though, repping 30% of the audience in the U.K. However, that’s down from 40%-plus 10 years back.

The U.K.’s 8.4 million teens, repping 13% of the population, spend on average $90 a week; of that, 6% goes toward DVDs, 8% on games, 5% on music and just 3% toward a movie ticket.

If you can’t beat them, join them. Internet advertising, especially through social-networking sites, is the way to go, said Vue marketing director Mark de Quervain.

Advertising has to be carefully targeted at the subcultures that exist in teendom. De Quervain’s research identified nine different personalities, which each expressed a marked difference in tastes for movies.

Moshers go more for niche fare, while “chavs,” the U.K.’s own white trash, favor genre movies. Both like comedies above all else, followed by action and adventure.

Teens are developing a greater sense of self and are getting more thoughtful, according to the research. Niche advertising tailored to them and their friends, displaying a high degree of subtlety and wit, is most likely to hit home.

Vue is going one step further by setting up its own Web site for teens with blogs, games and video clips. Pics are targeted at particular groups by linking pics with the music and clothes they like.

“Teenagers are a moving target,” said de Quervain. “Commercialization turns them off, so move quickly, and be bold. Reinvent the youth playground for the 21st century.”

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