What My Kids Tell Me About The Future of Media

I was reading a Goldman Sachs research report on the radio business on the plane back from Australia. I came across this chart of EBITDA multiples versus EBITA growth rates for various media categories.


There’s not a ton of insight in that chart, but it got me thinking if I could learn anything about the various media categories from watching my teenage children. Here’s what I’ve observed over the past year.

1) When they walk into a DVD store, they rarely walk out with a movie. It’s almost always the first season of a TV show they’ve heard is good. They’ll go see a movie in the theater but don’t really enjoy watching movies at home or on their computers. They feel that TV shows are better written and more interesting.  And the entertainment value is certainly more compelling. For roughly $40US, they got something like 25 episodes of Brothers and Sisters. That’s almost 17 hours of entertainment for $40. That’s hard to beat. And they get the bonus of being able to stat watching the show on TV once they’ve caught up.

It makes me wonder where this is headed. I don’t know enough about the economics of TV shows versus fims, but it may be that digital technology is changing the way the younger generation will consume filmed entertainment in some important ways. Something to think about. And maybe why the writers are striking.

2) They will play games whenever given the opportunity. My oldest, Jessica, favors brick breaker on her blackberry and admits to be close to addicted. She claims to know kids who play it under the desk at school. My middle child Emily seems to have been pulled into gaming via her social network. She likes to compete with her friends for the high score on a simple but engaging Facebook game called Jetman. And my son Josh will play games on everything from his phone to his computer to my computer to his xbox. It doesn’t matter what game it is and what device its on. He likes TV, movies, and games and seems to move effortlessly between all these forms of entertainment as if they were all the same.

3) When we were without broadband internet for three days in the barrier reef, they were a little antsy but were able to stay on top of Facebook messages via my blackberry. When we got back to a broadband internet connection, they spent the afternoon happily entertained by the Internet for hours. Emily had a huge smile on her face so I asked her what she’d do without the Internet. She said, “dad, the Internet is my primary form of entertainment”. She’ll happily turn off Facebook and AIM and watch TV with her siblings at night, but she’d happily stay online too.

4) The only time they listen to radio is when we have it on in the car for short rides. If it’s a long ride, we almost always plug in the iPod and they’ll take turns DJ’ing. Jessica is an amazing DJ if I may say so myself. She has mastered the art of gracefully moving from The Beatles, to the Arctic Monkeys, to some obscure new band I’ve never heard of and not miss a beat. In my generation, she’d have been working the high school or college radio station. Now she’s more likely to start an mp3 blog.

Speaking of mp3 blogs, they find all of their music on the Internet via myspace, last.fm, hype machine, mp3 blogs, and social networking with their friends. And when they find a cool new band, they friend them on Facebook and get an invite to their next gig. Nothing’s really changed about music other than the way kids connect to it. They still use music to make friends, qualify someone’s coolness (or lack thereof), kickstart parties, and make doing homework a bit more tolerable.

5) They still read books the way we did as kids. That doesn’t seem to have changed a bit. They read them for school, they read them for entertainment, and they read them lying in bed waiting to be tired enough to turn off the lights. My son Josh read four 600 page Harry Potter books on our two week trip and he’s not a super fast or voracious reader. But he likes reading. All my kids do. Might books be the only medium that remains unaffected by the Internet (except the ease of finding and buying them)?

6) They love magazines and read all the fashion, cooking, and gossip magazines they can get their hands on. They read about the same topics online and on TV (particularly food), but they show no signs of moving away from the magazine. In fact, I detect a growing obsession with magazines among my family. They literally fight over a new issue the day it arrives.

7) They don’t seem particularly interested in newspapers. They get most of their news on the Internet. Josh will read the sports pages over breakfast and the girls will glance at the front page. Important current events and politics will sometimes generate enough interest that they’ll read the front page portion of a story and then launch into a discussion over breakfast. But I don’t see a commitment to newspapers like we have in my generation and my parents generation.

So what does that tell me about the Goldman chart and these various categories?

– video games and Internet should be enjoying the highest multiples but there’s no surprise there. the market has that figured out.

– newspapers and radio should be suffering from the lowest multiples and again the market has that figured out.

– there are sectors of the entertainment business that are better than others. if my kids are a good sample (and i have no idea if they are), then TV is a better category to be in than films.

– the music business is still a good business, kids are still listening to music the way we did. they are finding it differently and paying for it differently, but they still consume it as passionately as we did. it tells me that those who figure out the new model in music are going to do well. it won’t be the major labels though.

– mass market magazines might be undervalued. the goldman chart doesn’t show those multiples. and i don’t know if there are any good public market pure plays in the magazine business, but they might be a good contrarian play if there are.

– books may be the one category of media and entertainment that aren’t disrupted by digital technology. or maybe we just haven’t seen the technology that will do it. i honestly don’t know. and i don’t know how the book business is faring versus five or ten years ago. but at least in my family, books are still a growth sector.

Of course, my sample of three kids who live together, were raised by the same parents, and have access to most of what they want may not be and probably isn’t representative. which is why i posted this. i’d love to hear other thoughts on these categories and maybe there’s something we can learn and profit from.

#stocks#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. Joe Latone

    I’ll increase your sample set by 66.67% by corroborating with my 2 small children.I’ll also add that the “kids” worlds (webkinz, mushbelly, neopets, and to a lesser extent club penguin since they don’t appear to have a “buy stuffed animal at target and register online”) are HUGE. They all also appear quite safe, even tho they offer social features (chat, meeting rooms, etc), since all interaction is constrained to a set of predefined actions/phrases/etc. (These worlds’ datacenters are all also clearly suffering from their success, as they often fail on Saturday mornings.)And, something that was echoed by more than one parent I know: These worlds appear to be a great motivator/tool for beginning readers.

  2. Joe A

    Fred, great post. It’s good to know that I am not the only person addicted to brickbreaker. Another trend that I have noticed with my young cousins (ages 4,5, and 6) is the huge popularity of Disney’s High School Musical and Hannah Montana. The kids are obsessed with it while the parents are fine with it because it is kid-friendly. They put on the TV shows at home and the music plays in the car or on their ipods (4 years old know how to use ipods, how crazy is that?). The kids request the songs by name and sing the words while playing on a nintendo DS. Disney on the other hand gets to capture the value across the whole of its media distribution network while selling a ridiculous amount of merchandise to parents. I’d be almost willing to bet that it is just as difficult to find tickets to a Hannah Montana concert as it is to the Super Bowl.

  3. Bruce Barber

    Fred,I’m interested to see how this generation (and ours, for that matter) will react to the Amazon Kindle.I haven’t checked one out in person yet, but I really like the idea of hearing about a great book and being able to read it minutes later.The 400 dollar price tag aside, the fact that your kids love books AND magazines, coupled with the fact that both are delivered directly to the device, will make adoption rates for the Kindle worth watching.

  4. Eric

    fred, I’m pretty sure that the method if consuming books and how/when we pay for them has been influenced by the web. Just ask Cory Doctrow, who has been writing about the benefits of releasing his books digitally under a creative commons license.

  5. Darren Herman

    Great post, Fred. Your kids are Digital Natives and are changing the way that media is consumed. I think the largest underlying notion here is that your kids (and many others) are device agnostic. They are not scared of trying new ways to consume media and will push the boundaries of any device they are using.

  6. Dan Blank

    Fred – The common thread here is where their passion lies. Great music, great storytelling, compelling interactive experiences, and the like. From a consumer perspective, it is not about calling something a “blog” or a “newspaper.” It is about making that connection with their passion.That said, the various media serve these needs in different ways. Reading a 600 page Harry Potter book, or watching the entire series of My So-Called Life on DVD are both ways of losing yourself completely in another world.What I loved about your take on this is the illustration of how different magazines and newspapers are. I work for a company that has over 50 magazine brands… and find myself constantly subscribing to more of them at home. While I get 2 newspapers everyday, it is a bit of a chore to get through them sometimes, especially considering the 100 RSS feeds I read.Anyhow – great blog entry.Have a nice day.-Dan

  7. Yaniv

    My 3.5 years old son is addicted to my iPhone.He prefers watching YouTube on it rather than on my Mac – no need to say that he operates them both by him self…

  8. johndodds

    Having seen a Kindle I’m not personally converted but then I have a multi-year book habit indoctrinated into my behaviour – however, as new generations do their reading increasingly on such devices it will be interesting to see if reading habits change (can you for example curl up in bed with a Kindle?). Another factor that will surely have an impact is the current rise in the number of people leaving school functionally illiterate and thus lost to book publishers for ever.As for TV – I think I’m right in saying that the TV show to video trend started here in the UK with Friends in the mid 90s. In other words it’s a new phenomenon and exists as ancillary income to the network/advertising revenue model. If that advertising model collapses (as many seem to predict) I’m not sure that low $40 prices can continue since production costs and particularly salaries have risen dramatically in TV.

  9. TimWalker

    “books may be the one category of media and entertainment that aren’t disrupted by digital technology. or maybe we just haven’t seen the technology that will do it.”My own view is that printed books are STILL “high technology” 500 years after they got ramped up. Printed words on paper glued between covers is STILL the best way many people have found to deliver certain types of entertainment. E-books will supplement but not supplant them, and they will long outlive (= are already outliving) the biggest booms in newspapers and magazines.

  10. Adrian Ionel

    Good post!My two cents. I’ve two kids – girl 14, boy 13. The girl uses myspace to stay connected with her friends, discover music, etc; Going to the movie theater with friends is a favorite activity, TV shows are popular too. Rarely watches movies on TV. Magazines yes, new papers – zero. The boy is totally into multi-player on-line games, a bit of myspace. Goes to movies as well. Sports on TV, sometimes movies. No magazines, no news papers.

  11. Paul

    Well done – I think you’re definately right. However, I think you do need to separate television production from television broadcasting, then, yes, I fully agree with your conclusion. (and separate music production from music distribution in the same way)

  12. Meryddian

    books may be the one category of media and entertainment that aren’t disrupted by digital technology. or maybe we just haven’t seen the technology that will do it.I think it’s because there is simply no technology which replaces the pleasure of sitting down with a good book in hand, the feeling of a book in hand, and being able to flip through the pages at will. The various book technologies to date have thus far been bulky and not particularly enjoyable to handle. Amazon’s new “Kindle” device shows promise, for a few reasons: it’s wireless, thus allowing you instant online access to not only books but magazines as well; you can download the first couple chapters of a book free, to be able to see if you’re interested in it; it’s smaller and easier to handle, closer in size to a book, but only around 10 oz in weight; it uses cell phone technology instead of WiFi so you are less likely to find “dead” air when you have a desire to search for new reading material; you can adjust the reading text size (thus no need for bulky “large text” books); you can annotate or bookmark items; and you can download Word documents and pictures, which means you can also use it as a portable photo album or as a way to review documents (I have the feeling that literary agents will find the latter particularly useful).Its biggest detriment? The fact that it costs $400, and that books are all $10 per download. Now, if you’re the type who “must read” NY Times bestsellers the minute they’re on the list, but you’re not a fan of hardcover prices, then this is the device for you. But for the average, not-particularly-die-hard reader out there, the price point on this device is relatively high for a device that will take a lot longer to give its worth back, versus say, paying $350 for an iPod, which would get used far more frequently.I’m a reader that falls somewhere in the middle – I read on average two books per week, but I also try to get books at a discounted price or even used (since I’m all for recycling). It’s fairly rare that I need a book SO badly that I’d want to download it right now. Plus, I have a certain pleasure from being able to collect favorite authors’ books. That all being said, if I could get the Kindle for around $150, and the downloads cost the same or less than the physical book costs on Amazon, I would likely buy the device.

    1. fredwilson

      My wife, aka gotham gal, reads 3-4 books per weekBut she likes to keep the ones she loves and put them in our libraryThat’s another reason I think some people will stick with the physical formfred

  13. Chipotle

    My kids are a bit older, but their consumption of media is very similar. They also have that almost physical need to get back online if they have been off the grid for more than a couple of hours. The first thing that gets turned on upon their arrival is a computer.On a somewhat related note, a friend gave me a copy of Rainbow’s End by Vernor Vinge a couple months ago. Science fiction is not my cup of tea, so it sat on my desk until I finally picked it up a couple days ago. It’s a bit of an eye opener. Evidently, Vinge predicted the current internet in books he wrote in the early 80s. Rainbow’s End was published in 2006 and is set in the near future when the internet is ubiquitous. His vision of that world is fascinating and a bit unsettling. There’s even a scene where the main character uses a Bug like modular hardware system to great effect.

    1. fredwilson

      Bug was influenced by a number of sci-fi stories

  14. KarenE

    I was just thinking, during the last few days while reading your travel posts, “gosh I miss hearing about AVC’s kids!” I know you stopped posting about their particulars in part for safety, but I always admire your observations about them. Probably because you’re just a little older than me, so I like to learn about how you deal with their issues. Fun stuff about their media choices that you’ve posted here. (Like watching the Obama surge, I feel a little old as a Gen-X-er. We are the small generation, the apathetic generation, the supposedly most unhappy generation ever. Politically we’re used to having to identify with the boomers (because there was no other option). Now, though, I think Gen Y is teaching us something. They are reaching for Obama, having already fully colonized Facebook, among other things. Never in my life have I felt so fully in-between-the-generations. But that’s another story … )

    1. fredwilson

      I’m still 25 in my mind Karen!

  15. Eric Rice

    I often wonder if the TV space will continue to be strong because of the offerings of animation and kids’ programming not easily found in DIY/online media. As my kids get older (5 and 7), all the things I’ve been doing for years are called ‘TV’. There doesn’t seem to be distinction. If everyone is online, then where’s the ‘awesome’?But yeah, I’ve not thought about the kids programming until today. Spongebob and Dora’s equivalent not on TV is………… ??

  16. P

    Yeah, I would think you have some points, but your kids clearly have access to too much money and there is no opportunity cost analysis in their decision making.

    1. fredwilson

      I agree that’s a problem with my sampleI thought I acknowledged it in my post, but if I didn’t I should havefred

  17. Rex Hammock

    Fred, I have a son, 17, who is a high school junior and a daughter, 20, who is a second college student. Their media-interaction patterns are extraordinarily similar to yours except, perhaps, on their interaction with music. My son is in boarding school — which is like living 24/7 inside of Facebook — and music flows down his hall of nine guys constantly. As best I can tell, the hall tends to ‘adopt’ songs and play the heck out of them. The tunes can be from new bands, hardcore rap or some country tune from the 1970s or something that was included on Guitar Hero III. One thing for certain, however: it’s not something they heard on the radio.

  18. Shawn K

    I’m a 23 year old guy, and the more movies I watch, the more disappointed I get. Internet has long been my primary source of news/entertainment, and if I can find the TV shows I like (Chuck, The Big Bang Theory, etc…) online, then that’s where I get them from, otherwise I’ll record them if I need to [media center pc] never do I watch a show live, although I try to watch sports live when I can. Also, Myspace is all but dead in the water, and Facebook is quickly digging their own grave, simplicity were the strong points, but now all the profiles are so cluttered nobody can find anything on them. Many of us, if we haven’t already, will quickly be moving completely to Twitter, or maybe Pownce, as they are easy to stay connected on, foster communication, and also provide news far faster than RSS feeds do.

  19. Joshua March

    Fred,Great post, and i’d be happy to add my two cents from a slightly different perspective – in my 20s and in the UK.Ever since a friend leant me the first season of the OC on DVD about 4yrs ago, my main audio-visual consumption has been of TV series, usually bought in DVD format, or watched online. I still go to the cinema and watch films on my computer, but I’d say that takes up about 10% of my audio-visual consumption. My TV watching is 0% – everything other than film goes through my computer. I watch episodes when I want, sometimes in bits and sometimes in whole, sometimes with complete attention and often whilst working.There is a trend, which in my view follows of from this, of professional content being released in 3-4 min, YouTube-length scenes. I’ve written an article on this: http://socialmarketingstrat… take a look, let me know what you think.With regards to books, i’m a huge bibliophile – I love books, and don’t like reading them on my computer or as print outs. I like to actually own them – I don’t even like reading library books. I’m less averse to pure work research on my computer, and did recently buy an ‘ebook’, Community Building on the Web, by Amy Jo Kim, but this was only because it was very difficult to find in the UK, and I couldn’t have bought it for less than £70 ($140), plus postage. The ebook experience was okay, as I was skimming it for useful information, but I wouldn’t choose it – and if I find a reasonably priced copy of Amy’s book, I’ll probably buy it anyway.From what I’ve seen of the Kindle, there’s no way I’m even remotely interested. I think the concept has a future, especially with regard to consuming magazines, newspapers, blogs and video content, which are likely to be updated daily or weekly. However I’m not convinced that it will ever take over from owning a book – a book cannot be consumed instantly, and so there’s rarely a need to have it immediately. I also don’t think the Kindle will do it – it’s unattractive, and doesn’t even have wifi. I’d keep a keen eye out for an Apple multi-touch ‘wifi-screen’, about 4 times the width of the iphone, with a hard drive capable of holding music, videos and books, with a direct connection to the itunes store where you’ll be able to buy ebooks, subscribe to free (ad based) ‘magazine-‘ and ‘news-casts’, and of course read up on all your RSS feeds. All this will be one some special screen making it easier to watch and read. I have no official info on this, but I’d say it would be a good bet.However, I would like to point out the Japanese trend of reading stories by text message on their phones, often whilst commuting. I’ve read about this quite a bit, although don’t have any references – please let me know if anyone has. So, despite what I’ve just said people are obviously willing to read some novels on screen.Thanks,Josh

  20. Jim Kukral

    Yeah Fred, this is good stuff. I often, and always, ask any young people I can to talk to me how they do things. My kids are too young to be into any of this stuff just yet. (6/3). I’m keeping them out of this world as long as I can.Most recently I had a discussion with my niece about Facebook. Interesting way to predict the future.http://www.jimkukral.com/a-

  21. John Furrier

    nice fresh post…you must have had a great vacation..i’ve been watching my kids since 2000..http://furrier.org/2008/01/…my daughter thinks youtube is TV; and my son doesn’t know what yahoo is..

    1. fredwilson

      HaNothing like time away to clear the mindfred

  22. jimbo

    My 9-year-old loves to watch TV on her laptop – primarily the Disney Channel. She likes the “on-demand” nature of it and the ability to watch where ever she is, not tied to a TV in a particular room. Disney’s failure here is their greed: they have twice as many commercials as the TV version. My daughter comments on it and my wife dislikes it so much we now limit her access to Disney. Bad move on their part.Another thing my daughter and her friends love is (strangely) Archie comics. They come in digest form and are sold at the checkout counter at the market. This appears to be the only serial graphic novels geared to her age group. The Archie comics themselves are just rehashed from the last 40 years or so and they don’t seem particularly compelling to me but she loves them. We’ve been to comic stores and they are full of endless anime and adult books but nothing for her age. This seems a niche market that is really underexploited.

    1. brentchapman1

      Interesting observation. My 7 year daughter can’t get enough of the Archie comic books either. Every night she reads them. Almost never watches television (other then Hannah Montana and American Idol) and lives on my laptop. Big fan of Cartoon Doll Emporium, losing interest in Webkinz, lost interest in Toon Town (Disney) and Club Penguin (Disney also, I guess 🙂 and occasionally goes to Stardoll. Finally, recently spend about 1/2 of a flight to Arizona over the holiday playing Brickbreaker and the other half listening to my iPod.

  23. Guy Debord


  24. amcdey

    Your comment on magazines is interesting and I tend to agree about their undervaluation.There are a lot of harbingers of the “death of print” appearing in the media lately as the media houses struggle with declining print advertising revenues and repacking and sourcing content for the online space. These days its rare for a magazine to be launched without some sort of online counterpart to try and secure additional revenues from the digital space. There are also an increasing number of “webizines” being launch with content being published online only, although one could argue these are websites with the term webizine being redundant.Where I feel the “death of print” may be true is that of Newspapers. Newspapers are inherently old news on average 6-12 hours old and in todays climate of websites, RSS feeds, blogs, twitter, social networking especially for Gen Y (of which I am) 12 hour old news is just not news anymore. Additionally newspapers are typical extremely broad in the topics they cover trying to wrap everything from current events to sport and tech in one neat package. So where is the relevance to me? Why would I pay up to AUD$2.70 for old news with only a small snippet of topics that cover my interests when I can go online line to Google reader and know what news is breaking as it’s breaking from the people who create the News I’m interested in?Where I think the death of print is incorrect is Magazines. Magazines offer highly relevant, well researched and well written *content* on specific topics I am interested in, the key difference here is content vs News. News is not content, News is News, a brief summary of an event or topic, content on the other hand is much deeper and more fulfilling. Magazines also offer greater value to advertisers allow much greater targeting of advertising matched to content and demographics, something that is much harder for Newspapers to achieve.I think as our consumption of content becomes even more fragmented magazines will continue to hold and even grow their place in the media landscape. Magazines are well written with experienced trained writers, well presented with their high gloss and artistic layouts and highly relevant pulling together information on a single topic, be it cooking, fashion, or golf as examples.I also point to a great article written by Matt Handbury a recognised leader in the print media sector http://www.theaustralian.ne… which summaries the current print media climate.

  25. Fraser Dinnis

    Regarding your comment on TV shows and movies. I am an expat in Asia and suspect that this sector shouldn’t be undervalued (pls note writers). Shows such as 24 and West Wing are shown on free to air here at 2am in the morning. As such, we behave like your family in picking up DVDs of all good TV shows. I doubt our behaviour is unique given the amount of space given to TV series recently in the likes of HMV. Additionally, having 2 small children, viewing movies on TV can simply take too long after an exhuasting day, so a movie is an evening out at the cinema and restaurant.With regards to books and magazines, I am interested at the impact of eZines and eBooks. As oil continues to rise in price, it seems that the delivery costs of particularly large magazines, will continue to rise generating a significant price advantage to digital copies. Some of the new platforms (eg http://www.digitaldm.com) are producing fantastic quality digital versions (much better than old flash or pdf based versions) which I suspect may fill a need.

  26. Bellflower

    Loved your list!Interesting that schools are still banning the technogadgets the kids use most. It reminds me of the “calculators should not be allowed in class” debates WAY back when I was in high school! Will schools ever keep up with kids now they kids don’t need teachers to show them how to use the technology?Too bad education doesn’t respond to the media kids are using.Loved the observation that kids are playing games under their desks at school. They are doing a lot more than that too!

  27. Zach

    Just wait until Sony or Amazon or someone else gets the ebook reader right and the publishing houses get to the point we have with music today (DRM has failed and everyone is mostly going to unencumbered pdf/rtf/txt.)I’m living that dream now, getting a lot of the books I own (and buy) from Baen (who sell unencumbered scifi/fantasy books), Project Gutenberg and Usenet and reading them on my sony reader. It’s enough for me, and I’m tech savvy enough to ignore or work-around the flaws, but soon this will get to the masses.When it does, the mass-market book will essentially be dead. You will no longer purchase paperback copies of the pop-fiction on the NYT bestseller list. You will not purchase textbooks. You will instead pay to download an electronic copy to your book.

  28. Jessica

    when you said newspapers, did you mean the paper version only? i’m 21 now, and in high school not too long ago, i know i didn’t care much for the front page as much as I do now, but today, the front page for me is the homepage of nytimes.com, definitely not a stack of papers delivered to my house/dorm. your kids’ interest in the news is likely to change, and i can imagine our generation still having a very strong “committment”, as you say, to the newspaper, albeit in a different form. think of nytimes.com and other newspaper websites as a superblog of accurate information.

  29. Chris Ceppi

    Great post Fred. I am keeping an eye on my 4 and 2 year old boys and will report back anything meaningful – so far Pixar DVDs, Caillou and Thomas the Tank Engine on PBS, and random YouTube videos featuring steam trains are their media/entertainment mainstays.Check this Bill Simmons article on espn.com for some histroical perspective – he writes a letter to himself in 1982. Media consumption was a whole different scene for 12 year olds back then:http://sports.espn.go.com/e…Cheers,Chris

  30. Don Jones

    Our 3 yr old asks to see her favorite ballet and figure skating videos on You Tube.

  31. STHayden

    sounds like you have some awesome kids!

    1. fredwilson

      I think so but I am biased!

  32. tav

    and kids hate school and love candy and that’s irrelevant too…

  33. Jeremy Pepper

    Fred, the interesting thing here is that the Web 2.0 blogosphere – which, well, you are a part of – has been conspicuously silent on the WGA strike, and seems to mock professional content.Yet, here we have a real case study of how the real audience (not our very insular world) is using and devouring professional content.There’s a disconnect, a major disconnect, between those that are providing content, those that are real professionals providing content, and the audience. I hope you listen to your kids and take their lessons when you are investing.

    1. fredwilson

      JeremyYou raise a good point, one that jackson and tony alva, two regularcommenters on this blog have been making for yearsThe issue is that there is real contempt in the tech blog world for thedistribution system for professional contentAnd many people take that as contempt for the people who create the content.Which is not accuratefred

  34. Jack Scalfani

    Here is something that I have learned. I am 40 years old and I have played video games my whole life. I am currently getting my butt beat by my 7 year old in a Call of Duty 4 Deathmatch. I know I will never stop playing games until I die. This goes the same for every future generation. What we are seeing is smarter older games like Brain Academy, Brain Age 1 & 2, etc. These games are for an older people. Soon you will see even older games. There will come a point that no matter what age you are there will be games for you.The Wii is doing very well because the adults feel the can now compete with their kids and it’s a lot easier to play then hit A button, B button, triangle, L2, then click the joystick down just to set off a smoke bomb. Will makes it easy. Games will never go away. Kind of like political correctness and rap music.Thanks for listening to my input. It truly was a great post. Nice Job VC.Thanks,Jack ScalfaniGiveMe FoodsTheBestSauces.comFacebook profilemy blog#1: Blog & Cookiesmy blog #2: All That Bugs!my blog #3: Cooking With JackI Corinthians 10:31

  35. $5948

    My 12 & 15 year old boys are typical video gamers; most recently Guitar Hero III for the Wii. They both listen to music on Pandora; they are avid readers and follow their favorite authors via blogs. Our most recent change has been a switch to watching tv shows streamed to PC on Hulu.com. They would rather watch tv shows this way. We are blogging about our technology interaction as a family here: http://ihastechnology.blogs

  36. crawford

    As my 18 year old said to me one day, with the requisite oh-so-annoyed teen tone, it’s all just content Dad, get over it. His 15 yr old sister agrees.They don’t think media channels. They expect to get what they want off the cloud when and where they want it. Either via phone, laptop or pocket device. My son only reads newspapers for the cartoons. The rest is “out of date.” My daughter doesn’t read them at all. The only magazines they read are pop science and gaming. TV is still big. Movies on DVD are bigger than TV series. Forget Radio, go iPod.Txt mssg. Constantly. One hand on the phone txtng, one hand on the laptop chatting in IM. Constant.Future thoughts? eButler who aggregates and brings down your news/messages/contant info/activities/appointments, etc., all screened for you, delivered to your iPhone/Touch or whatever with voice recognition/commands. I keep hearing this voice…”It’s all just content, Dad, get over it.”

  37. Nathan

    OK, after reading your post and the comments, I have a suggestion for aspiring media and Internet analysts.Spend less time studying for your CFA and more time at home with the spouse making babies 🙂 It should be a prerequisite.In my home the kids are younger, so it’s Club Penguin, books, TV, Wii and the Wiggles. The Wiggles are huge. Fruit Salad, yummy yummy!

  38. JohnofScribbleSheet

    Well, as someone who is quite young, I must say despite all the changes in Media, I am still a magazine fiend. Love buying them, always will.

  39. Geoff

    Great post Fred and in my small sample size you are spot on, TV series on DVD’s, magazines, books all can be found in abundance in my home in the UK (18 year daughter) but not a single newspaper. Interestingly I gave her a blog http://emily.im for Christmas which she really loves posting too – although I don’t think it will take over from Facebook!

  40. Michael Yurechko

    I’m 16 and you’re almost on the money with the list.Movies/TVI go to the theater for major releases or movies which have great trailers and I just HAVE to see. If not, I’ll wait it out and download the movies. If I enjoy it, I’ll likely pickup the DVD, if not I’ll just delete it and move on with my life.MusicI tend to get new music from other bloggers, friends, and Last.fm. When I say friends, I mean my friend Alec ( http://alecfeld.com ) who eats, sleeps, and breathes music.InternetI spend anywhere from 2 to 12 hours on the internet on any given day. Why? Well for one, I work online. But for the most part it’s because I can stay entertained for hours for cheap. I can go to YouTube and watch a few videos, chat with friends, catchup on my RSS feeds or even get work done. Being a blogger, I find writing to be fun, interesting, and rewarding ($$ :D) – Though, I am anti-facebook. Big social networks that try to do everything annoy me. I like last.fm, digg, etc. but I do not spend hours upon hours on each, and I tend to use them for their main purpose (news, new music, whatever it may be, but I don’t spend time each day messaging friends and writing on their profiles).Books/MagazinesI do enjoy books and love to read, but most books don’t get me engaged enough so i find myself going back to my RSS feeds if a book doesn’t grab my attention from the start. Magazines on the other hand, I hate. I don’t know what it is, but I think its something to do with the news being out of date. I work as a tech blogger for apple and gadget sites and the news found in magazines annoys me – since it’s usually weeks or months out of date.Paying for content.Everyone thinks teens pirate everything. Not all do, but most download stuff. For example, I pirate everything. I use bit torrent and usenet a lot and download tons of content. If I enjoy the content, I go out and purchase it. Radiohead really got this idea from the start with In Rainbows. I downloaded the CD for free from their website, and loved it. So just last week I ran out and picked up the CD. The thing that bothers me is that most artists make little money from album sales, and make the most through concerts. So if Radiohead is ever in Vancouver, touring In Rainbows, you can bet that I’ll be there.

  41. JP

    My four year old son is already a TiVo fan. Although he does not read he understands that at any time there is a prerecorded show that that is ready for him to watch at any given time. “Just TiVo it Dad” he will say and we have only had the box for around a month. I have heard the term “Download Generation” referring to what they want when the want it mentality and I believe that this is now very true. Although he still does enjoy playing with the wind up emergency radio we have…doubt that will last much past the age of six.

  42. phoneranger

    My daughter just came home last night from visiting her mom’s kinfolk in North Carolina. The first thing she did was check her Facebook and email. Then she started studying for her exams. Then (most interestingly) she turned on CNN to catch the news. This after being in a Fox-News-on-all-the-time household last week. She had no interest in “The Wire”. ;(

  43. Karm Khanna

    Fred, I stumbled upon this post via a trackback on another blog. This was an excellent read.My 2 paises…I’m 30, single and have no wife or kids. Yet, my consumption habits are almost identical to your teenage kids. Part of the success for most tech companies lies in the fact that they are no longer dealing with a fragmented demographic.

  44. Any.Moose

    This was our primary topic of conversation over Christmas dinner this year – a huge paradigm shift for our family!My technologically shy Aunt received a cell phone from her sons as a gift and whipped it out to show off during dinner. This prompted everyone at the table to pull out theirs and compare and contrast, show off digital pictures and challenge each other to different games. This WAS the adult table and OVER 50% senior. Last year answering the land line during dinner was considered a serious faux pas and here we were talking about and using the various features on our cell phones for nearly 2 hours without pause.This, I think, is the difference: The land line used to represent a departure from the family activity. You walked away and immersed yourself in a conversation with an ‘other’. Here we could not only share stories about our daily lives but show them through pictures and even video.Even after dinner, splayed out on the couch and floor, in our turkey comma’s, digital brain games were passed around and we challenged each other to one on one brain combat and unlike some of the games played in previous years this was ALL AGES inclusive. Family dinners have always been age segregate. There is a kids table and an adults table, kids games and adult games. This year the six year olds were playing with the seventy year olds and the teens and the parents were all getting along and having a good time.When the night wrapped up some kids and adults immersed themselves in new books or mags and some kids and adults moved to the basement and put on a good old Christmas classic, star wars anyone?, and others finished the night raiding the kitchen for a late night dessert who’s recipe was pulled directly from the cooks favourite cooking blog.Different media has brought our family closer than ever before even though we all lead very different lives in the ‘real world’. In one year we went from a technology ban to full on embrace – who knows what next year will bring? Anyone up for a game of WII?

    1. fredwilson

      I love this part of your comment:Different media has brought our family closer than ever before even though we all lead very different lives in the ‘real world’That’s been my experience tooThanks!fred

  45. Gem

    My 8 Yr. Old Daughter is obsessed with High School Musical. My 6 Yr. Old Son is plays the Nintendo Wii Daily. (Along with his Dad =).They are too young now to be exposed to MySpace and Facebook. When they are on the computer a great deal of their time is spent playing online games @ NickJr, Cartoon Network, Youtube, and Webkinz. Our family loves music and when Jay-Z and Apple make the rumored Digital Music Label the Big Music Labels are going to have to make some changes to remain relevant.

  46. Alan Moore

    Really fascinating, you might be interested in our book and blog communities Dominate Brands http://www.communities-domi…I am not sure newsprint has got it figured out yet. There is a great deal of infrastructure problems that allows them to respond in the manner they would prefer I think.The big threat to TV is the financing of TV with advertising $$$ and if the model of mobile advertising takes off, which I think it will, the cannibalisation will come from TV spend. Many commercial TV networks and production houses find this a significant challenge.But my kids do the same things as yours, its real and its here to stay.My son would often put on a film lets say Jurassic Park and use that as the soundscape and backdrop to his creative play. Fascinating. All my kids have laptops and often we find them spending 2 hours watching you tube in hysterics.With books read Henry Jenkins book on Convergence Culture – its very good and also the Televsion will be revolutionized, can’t remember the author. He talks about Harry Potter and Fan Fiction.

  47. Brandon McLarty

    Fred,Check out quarterlife.com. The network production quality “internet show” 17 episodes so far. Great social networking hooks.

    1. fredwilson

      Yeah. Its great. A glimpse of the future in many waysFred

  48. fatadam

    My daughter is 2 and loves Big Bird, Miss Piggy (or both together), Diana Ross (featuring Big Bird) and the limited clean videos of the Teletubbies on You Tube. She also likes ‘Spider Man speed painting’ which is causing me concern and joy in equal measure… go Jackie Pollack go..Great post, thanks.

  49. Morten Skogly

    My 5 year old son is surfing Youtube with his 3 year old brother at his side, and I use the delicious toolbar to share new sites with him. I was really suprised by how easy it was for him to get the hang of the mouse when he started out. He recently picked up a nintendo ds, and I thought I would have to play super mario with him on my lap, silly me, to be able to get through the dialog screens etc, but he groked that in 10 minutes, and had 4000 points in a few days. But nothing beats cartoons on television, they can both sit glued to the idiot box for OURS, only popping up for fruit and water now and then (or fighting :)), and i am trying to break that habit by infusing a little nintendo wii, so far with great success.Personally, I am bored to death by Facebook, Myspace is a GUI abomination, and I’ve stopped using almost all my previous social networking sites, from flickr to virb to last.fm. The ones I have kept are the ones who actually provides me with a tool, like youtube for uploading video and picasaweb for images, but that is about it.I recently started listening to Bach cello pieces on my crack first gen xbox and picking up my old passion for scifi books, so I guess I’m nearing the grandfather years (i’m 34). I grab a few minutes of local news on the tv now and then, but besides that, everything else I watch is downloaded. I subscribe to a few magasines like wired and computer arts through work, but i seldom read then, just browse once in a while to get inspired to search up stuff on google.My one year old daughter likes eating crayons. 🙂

  50. Lloyd Fassett

    There may be a more relevant chart about Market Growth/Decrease rather than EBITA. Chris Anderson’s Long Tail pointed out how the big hits of about 2000 have a good chance of never being topped because of the ability to find more personalized / relevant content. (was Justin Timberlake at the top of your music taste?) Total TV viewership by young people is dropping and so it the movie box office. Wouldn’t the abiity to find the EBITA in the sector of ‘internet’ and ‘agmes’ be the real leverage point instead of the sector? You even mention that the report is about Radio, but that your family doesn’t listen to much (we listin to none), so you may get 6X EBITA, but if revenue is declining, what’s the point?It seems the strong point isn’t in what type of media, but in how media is found and created. If there was some way of divining what your kids found interesting and then create that, that might be the winner. It would be the same thing as Market Research, but on internet time and with niche focus.My kids are 6, 5,5, 2. We got rid of TV 3 years ago because it was too easy to plant them in front of it so we could do housework. They do play games on pbs.org though and other games on TV. I don’t when it will be, but we’ll wait till they insist on media before we bring it back.

  51. Chipotle

    Wow, when you give us a chance to talk about our kids the comments come rolling in.One more quick observation. When my kids (ages 18 to 23) were home for Christmas, I noticed that when they were sprawled on the couch watching TV they always had their laptops open nearby. Most of the time they were IMing with their friends, but they’d also check the price of the jeans an actress was wearing or look up the title of a song that was playing etc.BTW, I downloaded the Bishop Allen album based upon it making your top ten and it’s terrific. It’s now in heavy rotation at our house. Vampire Weekend is also a current favorite, but I have to give my daughter credit for getting them on my iPod

    1. fredwilson

      My kids found both bandsI love kids!Fred

  52. aizheng

    肺癌 胃癌 肝癌

  53. scott

    my son is 3 months old so I don’t have much insight there yet!Interested in your comments on radio, the goldman chart looks bearish for radio and this fits with your kids’ habits but you have been a strong proponent of digital radio over the years, your kids’ habits would suggest that it might not be the saviour many in the industry are hoping?Scott from Shanghai (where radio is pretty much non-existant as a media!)

  54. MarkHarrison

    > Might books be the only medium that remains unaffected by the Internet (except the ease of finding and buying them)?Can I suggest “finding, buying and PUBLISHING”.- I worked with a traditional publisher on my first.- I hired an editor (freelance) and self-published my second.- Sales of the first are much higher-Profit from the second is much higher.Neither of them are (or even going to be) anywhere near the best-seller list. They’re firmly down in the long tail, but I suspect that that’s the end where the change is happening fastest, not the only end…. Oh, and I also produce an ebook version of the second – we’ve price-tested various points, and the optimum seems to be about TWICE the price of a paperback for the same material. There’s something there about the premium of instant gratification, I feel.

    1. fredwilson

      I think you are right about thisFred

  55. DavidA

    your kids are upper class. not very reflective on the world population, which you wrote about in your new post.

  56. I made something for my own kids as somewhat of an experiment. It is a cross between a mystery book and a romp somewhat educational romp around the internet.I would be interested in hearing what people think about it. It an odd hybred..J.B.’s Fantastic NYC Internet Adventure – The Fun & Free Adventure Reading Learning Gamehttp://kidsinternetlearning…JB’s Fantastic NYC Internet Adventure is an online mystery set in NYC. It is designed to foster reading/thinking by hooking kids into the mystery with interesting Internet links to famous and familiar NYC places (the Met., Statute of Liberty, American Indian Museum, etc . .)It also has links to poetry, music (old school and new), as well as kids oriented sites related to science, nature, and business.WARNING: This links to the Internet. Therefore, please use a net nanny and/or parental supervision.

    1. fredwilson

      Is this a legit commentI couldn¹t tell so I approved itThe warning about the links concerns me

  57. Hammer

    I recently watched seasons 1 and 2 of Mad Men and something from that show rang very true to me in this post. Don Draper mentions that one of the reasons that he gets paid the big bucks and is so good at is job is that he is in the target market that all advertisers are trying to hit. It seems to me that one of the reasons you have been so successful as a VC is that you are in fact the target demographic for your tech startups, and thus your personal life, including your family, provides useful insight into what will be consumed. Upper class, tech savvy, early adopter, married, 3 preteen/teenage kids, homemaker wife.

    1. fredwilson

      I hope that¹s my secret because I love spending time with my family

  58. fredwilson

    So those 17 hours cost them $34mmThat’s still better than many moviesAnd they are getting $40US for the DVD versus less than $20US for a movieDVDI think there’s something to this ideafred