Marketplace Scratch Pad

From the mouths of babes

Scott Jagow Jul 14, 2009

Morgan Stanley has turned its research division over to a 15-year-old kid. Okay, not exactly, but the company did just issue a research report written by a teenager.

Matthew Robson is working as a summer intern at Morgan Stanley’s European research division. Morgan is interested in how digial media might evolve, primarily to assess which stocks might be good investments. So, they asked Matthew how he and his friends consume digital media and then published the results because it “provides one of the clearest and most thought provoking insights we have seen.”

If I was a Morgan Stanley client, that would scare me. Yes, the report is very impressive for a 15-year-old, but most of Matthew’s “insights” are fairly obvious. You can read his brief report here, but some excerpts:

Facebook is popular as one can interact with friends on a wide scale. On the other hand, teenagers do not use twitter. Most have signed up to the service, but then just leave it as they release that they are not going to update it (mostly because texting twitter uses up credit, and they would rather text friends with that credit). In addition, they realise that no one is viewing their profile, so their ‘tweets’ are pointless.

On newspapers:

No teenager that I know of regularly reads a newspaper, as most do not have the time and cannot be bothered to read pages and pages of text while they could watch the news summarised on the internet or on TV.

On radio (uh-oh):

Most teenagers nowadays are not regular listeners to radio. They may occasionally tune in, but they do not try to listen to a program specifically. The main reason teenagers listen to the
radio is for music, but now with online sites streaming music for free they do not bother, as services such as last.fm do this advert free, and users can choose the songs they want instead
of listening to what the radio presenter/DJ chooses.

Music:

They are very reluctant to pay for it (most never having bought a CD) and a large majority (8/10) are downloading it illegally from file sharing sites…

A number of people use the music service iTunes (usually in conjunction with iPods) to acquire their music (legally) but again this is unpopular with many teenagers because of the ‘high price’ (79p per song).

Matthew says anything with a touch screen is hot, as are mobile phones with large capacities for music. Anything with wires is passe, and so are devices with less than a ten-hour battery life.

I wonder what Matthew will write 4 years from now. Maybe he’ll be all over Twitter and listening to public radio. I enjoyed reading his report, but I wouldn’t make stock decisions over it.

Then again, considering the banking sector’s massive failures, perhaps we ought to turn the whole financial system over to the kiddies.

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