The youth market

I’ll be on a panel in June on capturing the youth market — the holy grail of the news business’s quest for growth — and I’ll be there as a dissenter. My basic theme: Pay attention to your local market and improve the quality and diversity of content and services. There’s too much hand wringing in our industry about the youth market, and not enough attention paid to where the entire user experience is heading. However, when it comes to youth, one thing is clear: mobility is key. My bet is that most of this generation will never own a landline, a component-based stereo system, a non-IP-enabled entertainment center, or subscribe to a newspaper. But as they grow older, the same issues that drive young adults to get more involved in the civicscape (kids, schools, environment, taxation, utility bills) will turn them increasingly into news consumers, local news consumers. It’s inevitable, if the news is delivered in a way they find convenient, personalized and empowering. The key isn’t to tap the youth market today, but to be ready for them tomorrow. I think.

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