Bunch of noobs; kid says stuff about web, City amazed!

Excuse the exclamation mark, but it’s the silly season, which has to account for the FT’s front page story about a 15-year-old on work experience at Morgan Stanley, who wrote a report for the bank and amazed analysts up and down the square mile: apparently kids do not watch TV and Twitter is only for grown-ups. Draw your own conclusion.

I wasn’t sure if the front page FT story “Media research note by ‘teenage scribbler’ causes City sensation” was a joke at first – it has a bizarre New York dateline.

The story recounts that the report by one Matthew Robson impressed the bank so much that it published it as a research note that went on to become “the talk of middle-aged media executives and investors”.

The FT quotes Edward Hill-Wood, head of Morgan Stanley’s European media team, saying his report proved to be “one of the clearest and most thought-provoking insights we have seen. So we published it”.

Without being at all insulting, what he told them was the obvious, namely the stuff that you and I and everyone around here knows.

1. Teenagers do not use Twitter. Why? Because no one follows them; and they have to pay to update on their phones.
2. Teenagers don’t watch regular television
3. They listen to ad-free music on sites such as Last.fm than tune into traditional radio.
4. Online advertising is “extremely annoying and pointless”.
5. They’re on Xbox Live and the PS3 playing Halo or CoD4 – just like in the is pic from GotGame.com
6. They go out and do stuff
7. Teenagers do not read newspapers, they can’t be “bothered to read pages and pages of text” rather than see summaries online or on television.

“We’ve had dozens and dozens of fund managers, and several CEOs, e-mailing and calling all day,” said Hill-Wood, 35, estimating that the note had generated five or six times more feedback than the team’s usual reports.

Is it me or are city analysts just a bunch of noobs? I mean really, I pose that question in all its derogatoriness quite seriously?

Whoever saw a teenager on Twitter other than Miley Cyrus (in case you were wondering about her, she “love rainbows, John Lennon, and Franklin, Tennessee”). If I didn’t have a job; I wouldn’t be on it either. I also wouldn’t blog or possibly get out of bed, but enough about me.

I could go on; I mean don’t get me started about online advertising and the waste of space that most of it is (search aside).

As with Twitter and online advertising, I’ve never thought that TV was really for teenagers. In my mind nothing has changed, I barely remember watching it after becoming a late teen and graduating. Isn’t the same true for newspapers?

Me? I’m waiting for the next “City sensation”. It has to be better than this one.


  • John Gallen

    Hilarious… and these are the guys part responsoble for the current financial crises.

    “We’ve had dozens and dozens of fund managers, and several CEOs, e-mailing and calling all day,” … no wonder my pension is now worth squat.

  • Gordon Macmillan

    I know John, it’s completely hilarious. Give them a bonus and a case of bubbly to celebrate this great find.

  • Matt Rodriguez

    do they not listen to their own kids?

  • gotnoteef

    they don’t listen – to anyone or anything – period. They don’t learn either. You could give it six months, then tell them all of this again and it would increase their email traffic once more.
    But hey, they earn those bonuses Gordon – they really do.

  • Lee H

    I’m stuffing all my cash in my mattress this evening!

    Great story. Both funny and hiddeously scary at the same time.

  • John Gallen

    The very funny thing about this is how they have worn their ignorance with pride. Was the Morgan Stanley PR department and research department asleep when they put htisout. I’ve come back for a second comment as a few people emailed me the article from different sources… all with a sarcastic / angry… ha, arrrgghhh !

  • http://trendplanner.com Matt Saunders

    Shame they didn’t have another 15-year-old scribble down some points on PR… Perhaps something along the lines of, don’t release a story that is essentially saying a single 15-year-old can produce better work in a day than the combined efforts of the company in a lifetime!

  • Rob Sellers

    This underlines a huge problem with business – that financial advisors tend to sit closer to corporate strategy than marketers. E.g. those of us who specialise in consumer insights, technology and usage are at the bottom of the food chain. I have mates working for funds and VC specialist who turn to me to sense check some of their deals… I can think of at least 2 very famous media investments that are going significantly pair-shaped where I probably suggested the thinking was off. Wish CEOs would email me…

  • Charlotte Hamilton

    I don’t know where to start with how wrong this is – firstly, how is the kind of 15 yr old on an internship at Morgan Stanley the voice of all UK teens? Secondly, without picking out any specifics, statistically robust figures for all of these areas already exist – in the form of Youth TGI for one, with it’s 6,000+ teen respondents vs. um…Matthew’s 4 mates from Eton who were on IM when he was writing this up. So why give this any credibility?
    1 specific i have to pick out: Television: “Most people have Virgin Media as a TV provider”. A quick Google indicates Virgin have less than 4m subscribers so it really is worrying that these CEOs are swallowing this as some sort of holy grail of media information…. Infuriating

  • Gordon Macmillan

    The Times gave this a full page today; there was more in the Telegraph. I’m gobsmacked by the coverage.

  • http://blog.emoderation.com Tia Fisher

    Just joining the throng to express my incredulity that this can seriously have been news to anyone? Yes, the words of one lad can hardly be taken as a demographic survey, but even so, as Matt Rodrigues says above – do they not listen to their own kids? Read the considerable amount of credited research which exists into this target group? Or even … use their own common sense? Ah. We’re talking about the finance industry, aren’t we? Strike that last bit.

  • http://www.thinkbox.tv David Brennan

    Matthew deserves a well done for impressing his bosses at Morgan Stanley with his assignment. As a piece of qualitative research I’m sure there are some useful insights but – tedious, I know – it should be set against the actual numbers.

    Gordon, you use more than a little a little poetic licence when you claim Matthew said ‘teenagers don’t watch regular television’. He didn’t say that. He didn’t even imply that. He said ‘most teenagers watch television’ and then gave his and his mates’ opinion on how that breaks down. His full note is here: http://tiny.cc/xN1jm.

    For the record, according to BARB, teenagers (13-19 year olds) watch over 14 hours of broadcast TV every week, 2 hours a day. This doesn’t take into account their enthusiasm for online TV etc. In terms of comparing media consumption, IPA Touchpoints data tells us that TV is by far young people’s most popular medium. 16-20s (we don’t have data for under-16s) spend 53% of their media time watching TV. This is more than double its nearest rival for time, the radio (23%) and well ahead of online.

  • Gavin Wheeler

    I think you are missing the point here. Whilst the “Digital Intelligentsia” of web savvy agencies already know all this, general management clientside do not. They are too busy running their businesses in a recession and cutting spend. The worrying factor for us agency folk is that whilst we may have been saying all this to our senior clients have they been listening? And do they take our opinions seriously versus Morgan Stanley? Witness the inundated by CEOs etc. I am sure many Marketing Directors were receiving “what are we doing about this” type emails yesterday.
    Many a well thought out “New Media” strategy over the past year has been shelved with a flight to safety shift back toTV because its cheap at the moment.
    The positive for us is now that Morgan Stanley have highlighted this it’s on the CEOs agenda and the shareholder’s agenda, which means it will now be on the Marketing Director’s agenda.
    My take out was great, plus I didn’t know about communicating via gaming, now our dusty strategies on “How are we going to communicate and influence the consumers of tomorrow” will get aired, listened too and perhaps acted upon.
    I also thought it was a PR masterstroke, for a brand like Morgan Stanley to get free full pages in all the qualities.

  • Gordon Macmillan

    @GWheeler, These people are meant to be “analysts – they are meant to know stuff. A PR master stroke gives a lot of credit. I read it as bunch of bankers who know nothing even when they are looking at media trends.

    @DavidBrennan – The thinkbox rapid rebuttal unit is in full swing. I’m sure teenagers watch TV (I’m sure some never leave the couch) but they’re habits and options for consuming this tv are changing.