Tweens May Never Remember Pre-TiVo

Let's talk about tweens and interactive television. A "tween" is a person who is no longer a small child and not yet a teenager. As written on Wikipedia:

In popular culture around the start of the 21st century, it has been used to describe children in the pre-teen and teenage years, generally in the age range of 8 to 12 years old (according to the definition of The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Retrieved 14 December 2005 as linked above.

My daughter is 9 years old and is in fourth grade. She's known TiVo since mid-2002 and now is frustrated if she's watching a show without TiVo. (I know the feeling; I find myself wanting to "TiVo" my car radio.) Current Tweens will be in college in 5 years or so, and they will not be happy if they don't have control over the TV viewing experience. According to an excellent article by Michael Grebb of Multichannel News, there are some interesting commercial research findings. For example:

  • Last July, Nickelodeon launched a new broadband site called TurboNick that has already logged more than 23 million streams
  • Mike Skagerlind, senior vice president and general manager of Nickelodeon Online, is quoted saying that some 90% of Nickelodeon's viewers are broadband-enabled. If that doesn't sound like a revolution, nothing will.
  • Forrester Research reports that about 36% of people ages 12 to 21 now use instant messaging, own their own mobile phone, and have a broadband connection at home.
  • According to Nielson Net Ratings, 18.2 million kids ages 6 to 14 were online as of September 2005
  • Ben White, vice president of digital media for MTV Networks, is quoted as saying "When people look back in the history books, they'll say that 2005 and 2006 were the years that everybody got into this." Amen. The time is now.
  • Ken Goldstein, executive vice president and managing director of Disney Online believes that "the [broadband] platform is not television... The platform is interactive, I don't want to just put a bunch of video on the Web.”
Retrieved 14 December 2006 from http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6290246.html

This is an excellent article. It reminds me that we are in a highly competitive environment with Disney, Nickelodeon, and MTV all very active with interactive online activities. If they can transfer this experience to the television set (i.e., when cable and satellite make iTV available), why wouldn't they? I'd love to hear some counterarguments. Seeing the future is easy, it's the pitfalls between today and the future that are so difficult to identify and measure.

You may use this content (better still, argue with me!), but please cite my ideas as © 2005, Dr. Bruce Klopfenstein. Best viewed in Firefox thanks to Microsoft going its own way with Internet Explorer.


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