London, UK - Twitter is for old people, and teens won't pay for phone calls: just two of the conclusions from Morgan Stanley's latest research note. Even more surprising, though, is the fact that the paper was written by a 15-year-old intern.
The bank's media analysts asked Matthew Robson to write a report on teenagers' media likes and dislikes. Then, in what was clearly someone's idea of a brilliant PR coup, they decided to publish it.
Unfortunately, in the firm's eagerness to get down with the kids, it may have picked the wrong kid. The report veers between the implausible - teenagers "may watch no television for weeks" - and the bleeding obvious - "Teenagers listen to a lot of music". There's no doubt that the report is an impressive bit of work for a 15-year-old, but it's hardly world-class research.
Still - allowing for the usual teenage exaggeration - it makes fascinating reading. Robson suggests, for example, that with games consoles now routinely connected to the internet, and thus capable of making free voice calls, teenagers are unwilling to pay to use the phone. He's presumably referring to land lines, as he reckons that 99 percent have a mobile phone, and says the only two regular applications for these are SMS and voice calls. Sony Ericsson is the brand of choice.
FaceBook is the clear winner for social networking, with Robson reckoning that nearly everyone with an internet connection is registered and visiting three or four times a week. But, he says, "Teenagers don't use Twitter." He's got a point, here - according to figures from Quantcast, only one in a hundred Twitter users is under 18. The problem, he says, is that Twitter uses up phone credit, and most teenagers can't afford it.
A whopping 80 percent of British teenagers download their music illegally from file sharing sites, says Robson - "Most never having bought a CD" (really?). They listen to it mainly via streaming websites, or on iPods or mobile phones.
Teenagers enjoy viral marketing, he says, but "see adverts on websites (pop ups, banner ads) as extremely annoying and pointless".
You see a touch of teenage superiority in Robson's comments here and there - "The emergence of the Wii onto the market has created a plethora of girl gamers and younger (6+ gamers." PC gaming, he says, has little or no place in the teenage market.
He sums up with a list of what's hot: anything with a touch screen; mobile phones with large capacities for music; portable devices that can connect to the internet, such as the iPhone; and "really big tellies".