At the Association of Online Publishers conference, familiar story in the youth session: kids are watching less TV, spending loads of time online and on mobile and just love IM. But it was more interesting here to look at some individual experiences rather than the trends we already know.Charlie Redmayne, MD of mykindaplace.com and monkeyslum.com, described how difficult it was to build their kind of web magazine/social net product for teenage boys. Girls have a huge overlap of interests – evident in the huge number of print magazines for girls – but boys tend to have interests in verticals like football, girls, skating or whatever. Monkeyslum.com is their effort to engage that difficult audience but he said UGC has been key to that with predictably edgy and irreverent content. They started with ‘rate my girlfriend’ photos and that led to ‘rate my Mum’ and, erm, ‘rate my Nan’. But that’s the kind of thing you have to do, said Redmayne.
NME.com editor Ben Perreau had some very fresh observations on engaging youth audiences and this magazine is right on the front line. It’s massive advantage for the 55-year-old NME brand to have such an obsessive music fan audience, but also a huge challenge for it to keep up with those young and tech-savvy teens. Perreau said its users demand respect and honesty from the site and from their peers, and give the most honest feedback the site could hope for. Far from cannibalising its print readership, he said the site had given NME an even wider audience and they knew it had to be created because if they didn’t, someone else would have. “What the kids do today, business folk will do tomorrow. They aren’t interested in your demographics and your Venn diagrams.” Perreau also said that this new generation (and we’re talking here about 14-24, at a guess) are the most sociable generation: “Most of them are involved in more social interactions in a month than most of us in a year.” I spoke to Ben after the session – more on that tomorrow.
This article originally appeared in MediaGuardian.