Research 1: How Early Adopters Find and Share New Entertainment – Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 6:49pm by Beth Parker


  • 11-14 year olds are the most likely to adopt new technology.
  • A shiny product alone will no long garner you success was one of the key messages of the session.
  • Kids take 2 seconds to make a decision about content.
  • Kids want an interactive relationship with brands.

Session DetailsResearch 1

Sherbert and Dubit carried out a 3 part study across 5000 families which found that 11-14 year olds are the most likely to adopt new technology. How can IP owners work with them then, to sustain and extend their properties?

Essentially the audience has become the commissioner, so strategic thinking about who that audience is and how they behave, is crucial to the success of any IP. A shiny product alone will no long garner you success was one of the key messages of the session.

Now there is way more content and more platforms to access it, so where big brands tend to direct people to their content and have traditionally been the benchmark for quality, the non-traditional entities have grown up and kids’ media habits are changing, so as you have to ask yourself, does your idea need the traditional distribution model anymore?

The research looked at how kids find content in the first place and found they are experts and filtering; they will scan reviews and look at the graphics. It is a 2 second decision and if they don’t like a brand, they’ll delete it instantly. The message therefore to any IP owner is to use visual cues and make peer recommendations easy.

Another key message was the exclusivity was important to kids. They get bored of the mainstream, they don’t want to be seen as ‘uncool’ like their parents. Bottom line is they want to be popular – the number of followers they have, the number of likes they have across their highly managed online IDs is absolutely crucial – if sharing your product gains them popularity, then they’ll do it.

The study found kids want a two-way relation with creators and designers, whether that means consulting them on improvements or crowd sourcing ideas, kids want the freedom to contribute and get involved with a brand. The more personal it feels to them, the more teens trust opinions.

Looking at specific social media platforms, the research found the following:

  • Facebook – used to use it for everything but parents and grandparents have moved in; it still gets the most people on it but it’s not a cool place to be
  • Twitter – is functional, it’s a place to find information; it’s also easy to find friends and celebrities, while spreading the word via hashtags
  • You Tube – is used for everything, with many teens having their own channel
  • Vine – more relaxed and chilled, it’s commonly seen as an incubator for YouTube
  • Instagram – is hugely popular as it’s all about getting noticed and therefore liked; the flip side to that though is that teens often feel judged and rejected when their photos aren’t liked
  • Snapchat – is like a pop up shop! It provides an insight into the ‘everyday’ me, capturing an exact moment, which feels more special as it’s only up for a limited time; kids don’t have to worry about parents seeing it and it being there in the future
  • IM/WhatsApp – provides constant chat and is way better than text; it also provides the means for group conversations and there’s always something going on

So in short, for kids it’s all about being popular in a ‘safe’ environment (i.e. without repercussions), so whatever you’re trying to sell them, make sharing it easy, make it easily updatable and make it just as easy to take things down if it doesn’t create a buzz – it’s crucial to maintain energy.

The key messages are exclusivity, collaboration and clarity. Involve the audience and reward them, but keep it simple.

Full details of the speakers are in the Session Guide.
View the presentation: Research 1

Dubit and Sherbert’s video of kids discussing social networks:

Event Reports

Beth Parker

About the author

Beth Parker

Bonsai Bison, Freelance Animation Consultant

Apart from a brief hiatus in the charity sector, where she worked with organisations supporting children and young people, Beth’s experience in the television industry spans three decades. The vast majority of that experience has been in the production of animated series for children but with a number of different… Read more