Study: Young consumers are big multitaskers

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[New York] Youth the world over are expert multitaskers, says a study of consumers ages 13 to 24 in 11 countries worldwide.

Every parent knows the drill-with the TV blasting, they are surfing the Web, chatting on IM and even listening to music all at the same time. "If you think about everything they accomplish, it amounts to a 44-hour day," said Joe Uva, president-CEO of OMD Worldwide, which conducted the survey with Yahoo.

Mexican and Australian youths are among the most prolific multitaskers, performing a mean of more than four other things while surfing the Net, and more than three other things while watching TV. U.K. and German youth likewise do more than four other activities while online. A major trend uncovered by the study is that the Internet is beginning to converge with content associated with TV. Asian youth are the most frequent practitioners of "media meshing"-a term that means combining more than one media. In China, 41% watch streamed video on a PC, and 49% download full-length movies. In South Korea, 36% of young people do both these activities.

Another aspect of media meshing is downloading content into cell phones. Some 48% of Indian kids listen to music they've pulled onto their mobile phones, while 44% of South Korean kids do, and 30% of German kids. U.K. youth led the world in watching video on cell phones-28% do so. U.S. youths do less media meshing. While nearly one-third watch streaming video, only 6% download full-length movies. On their mobile phones, a mere 6% of U.S. kids listen to music and a tiny 2% watch video.

The research was conducted last summer through focus groups, in-person interviews and online surveys with 5,334 respondents in the U.S., Mexico, U.K., Germany, France, Russia, South Korea, India, Hong Kong, China and Australia.

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