Study: Only One in Four Teens Can Name Broadcast Networks

TV Viewing Fourth Most-Popular Activity, Behind Web, Friends, Movies

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- For the week of the broadcast network upfront presentations, Bolt Media hopes this stat delivers a bullet to TV: Only one in four 12- to 34-year-olds can name all four major broadcast networks: ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox.
Teens may not be able to name the big four, but they know MTV, Cartoon Network and Comedy Central.
Teens may not be able to name the big four, but they know MTV, Cartoon Network and Comedy Central.

The finding comes via an online poll conducted by Bolt Media, a 10-year-old Web site that six weeks ago relaunched itself as a place for users to upload videos and photos. About 400 members responded to the questions, including one that asked how respondents spent their free time.

The top networks
The most popular activity? That would be surfing the Internet, which 84% said they did during their idle periods. Hanging out with friends came in second at 76%, watching movies third at 71% and TV viewing fourth at 69%. The five most-watched TV networks were Fox, Comedy Central, ABC, MTV and Cartoon Network.

"There's a massive movement going on in people under 30 and how they spend their media time," said Bolt President Lou Kerner, who once upon a time was a cable analyst on Wall Street before leaving to run TV.com and then Bolt. "Our audience spends lots of time on net, creating their own media."

He shrugs off the idea that the poll, because it was based on Bolt members who tend to be heavy online users, wasn't of value. He charges the results are representative of teens who go on sites like Bolt or YouTube -- exactly the kinds of rabid media consumers sophisticated marketers are interested in reaching.

"We're finally at an inflection point where advertisers are tired of spending more and more and getting less and less, particularly as it relates to youth," he said. "You're going to see a much broader embracement of the Internet as a distribution mechanism to get their shows out there."

Viral marketing
He criticized NBC's decision to pull the "Saturday Night Live" "Lazy Sunday" clip off of YouTube and praised Fox for its viral marketing of "Family Guy," which went on to be a cash cow in DVD sales. Mr. Kerner's advice to the networks as they look to build buzz for the new fall season?

"Take your clips and put them out there on these different sites. Let the kids take the codes and put them into their social media profiles so they can show their friends and their friends can collect that as well," he said. "That viral marketing is best possible thing they can do to drive more people to the broadcast channel or their own dot-com site."
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