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Action-oriented youth as a TG can lead to better marketing opportunities, says MTV’s Youth Marketing Study 2020

Mera Bharat Amazeballs, an explosive study by MTV Insight Studio, focuses on the changing behaviour of the Indian youth. Navin Shenoy, Head of Marketing, Youth, Music and English Entertainment, Viacom18, tells how an action-oriented generation is the biggest help for brands for better marketing. Shenoy discusses the importance of research for content creation and marketing and sheds light on the changing behaviour of the Indian youth

Navin Shenoy

“Action-oriented generation is the biggest help to anybody who is out there, ready to listen. If brands get this kind of TG, they would be able to do much better marketing,” Navin Shenoy, Head of Marketing, Youth, Music and English Entertainment, Viacom18, told at the launch of MTV Insights Studio’s ‘Mera Bharat Amazeballs’.

The explosive study focuses on the changing behaviour of Indian youth and covers a variety of multi-dimensional topics pertaining to that generation.  The five key themes of the study are — ‘Make India Great Again’, ‘Bharat = India’, ‘Girl on Top’, ‘Thank God Its Family’ and ‘I am Who I am’.

The study says young people are action-oriented and believe in acting upon what they believe in. It suggests 81% of millennials have actively participated in local activities such as beach clean-ups, tree plantation drives, carpools and even government-driven initiatives such as Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan. 

In this phase of time, Shenoy said, people are gravitating towards real stories, documentaries, shows with real stories and real people. This space can be in romance, crime or thriller. This is really hot for the market, he said.

“For such stories, format can be anything. Different occasions of consumption where people would prefer any format. I don’t think you can conclude one way or the other,” he added.

The Mera Bharat Amazeballs study covers a variety of multi-dimensional topics pertaining to the youth of the country.  The case study covers insights from 25,000 + youngsters across 400+ cities between the age of 15 and 25 years. 

Commenting on the importance of such studies and reports for broadcasters and marketers, Shenoy said it is important to know what the young audience believes in.

“You can infuse fresh meaning to the existing shows, when you know what young audiences think. An existing show can be repurposed or a new show can be created. Such insights can help me create content which keeps me ahead of the curve and I need to be able to showcase marketers again that when it comes to youth, nobody understands youth like MTV does. And then for marketers, MTV is the go-to brand for the youth,” he said.

If young audiences want to work towards a certain cause and a brand campaigns around it, brand affinity will go up, he added.

The MTV Insights Studios releases this report once every two years. As the behaviour of the youth, which includes GenZ and millennials, keep fluctuating at a much faster pace than any other generation, does that act as any challenge while researching for the reports?

Shenoy said such cycles of change in behaviour are longer and had been longer up till now.

The study says going local is the new age of ‘cool’ and suggests more and more young people believe in putting family first and also prefer working from their ‘hometowns’. It also reveals that 94% women believe that boys and girls should adhere to the same rules in a relationship against a number of 64% of the same parameter in 2016. 53% women have advocated for their parents being modern in their attitude as against 36% men. Moving beyond the realms of homemaking, women today are decision-makers with 84% admitting that their opinions are valued in the family. Another notable point from this study says young people have become more acceptable towards arranged marriages.

According to the report, arranged marriage is becoming more acceptable with 60% of young India preferring it as they believe that their parents know them and hence also understand what’s good for them. Also, 81% say they’ll be happy to stay with their parents or in-laws after marriage. Arranged marriages, joint families, choosing family over a career are increasingly gaining ground among youth today with family being a driving force in defining their choices. 

Arranged marriages, joint families, choosing family over a career are increasingly gaining ground among the youth today. It says 64% of the non-metro youth state that they would prefer working in their hometowns to make money and not move to another city. Also, 67% of the non-metro youth believe that everything they need is equally available in metros and small towns. This change will impact telecom, e-commerce, mobile phones, connected devices, hyperlocal marketplaces, logistics and local food & fashion brands.

According to the report, acceptance has also surfaced around gender definition with 71% youngsters extending support for homosexuality. 75% youth today want to do something meaningful with their lives while 83% believe that pursuing a passion is more important than money. This revelation can impact entertainment, cult lifestyle brands, recycled/up-cycled retail brands, travel and tourism, wellness. 

The study highlighted various preferences and behavioural aspects of the youth. One such revelation was that there is a decline in the number of young people who would prefer dating apps due to trust issues.

When asked if he sees a decline in the number of users of such applications or dating brands/apps, Shenoy said, “It is imperative in the dating space for the brand/app owner to tell users that this application is going to be a safer place and these steps we are taking for it. Maybe there is a space for dating apps to take the space of the most real or safest place.” 

The study revealed that the young audience in the rural and urban markets are consuming the same content.

“Mera Bharat Amazeballs is an inward look into the changing demographic of young India and brings to light what makes them tick and what ticks them off. Despite being a generation high on social media, the youth today is passionate, positive and action-oriented committed to create a society where everyone matters. These insights are relevant to the entire ecosystem that caters to the ever-evolving consumption cycle of youth,” Shenoy said. 

While discussing if there is a scarcity of such reports around youth in the market, Shenoy predicted an increase in the growth of such studies in the future.

“We are not very far away from very massive content trend studies which are there in the market and now there are multiple interested parties in this space. Right now because the content generation is at such a fast pace, very little time is given to research or understanding what is working or what is not, because everybody wants to win the market.” 

He pointed out there are FMCG brands that might be conducting research mostly at their category level and might not be publishing that in the public forum.

Speaking about the need for an in-depth study on youth behaviour, Ferzad Palia, Head, Voot Select, Youth, Music and English Entertainment Viacom18, said, “For over two decades, MTV has led the way in understanding the pulse of its young audience and has been a pop culture icon. Deep consumer insights and continuous engagement with our audience is at the heart of how we’ve managed to lead trends over decades. We’re proud to share our learning with the world.”

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