Viacom releases global study on millennials

MTV owner Viacom has released its latest study on millennials, people born after the year 2000.

The announcement:

SINGAPORE, 1 OCTOBER 2013 – Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) Asia, a division of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), today unveiled an expansion of the broadest global study conducted with the millennial generation, “The Next Normal: An Unprecedented Look at Millennials Worldwide”, which now includes fresh insights from additional Asia countries like Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand. First released November last year, the groundbreaking study provides the first truly global portrait of this highly influential demographic. The in-depth findings were presented by Christian Kurz, Vice President of International Research and Insights, Viacom International Media Networks, through a joint hosted event to marketers and Pay-TV operators with the American Chamber of Commerce at The American Club in Singapore.

The study spans every continent and delivers insights into the attitudes, values, aspirations and perspectives of young people (ages 9-30) from 32 countries including Asia, which previously already included China, India, Japan and Singapore. In total, this project included over 20,000 interviews, in-depth explorations and expert contributions and commentaries.

“‘The Next Normal’ is the broadest single study of the Millennial generation to date,” said Christian Kurz, Vice President of International Research and Insights, Viacom International Media Networks. “It is a truly detailed understanding of this complex generation from all corners of the world, and is without a doubt the definitive guide to this demographic’s evolution. These insights help inform our content and further strengthen our connections with Millennial audiences around the globe. We’re now seeing partners indicate a lot of interest in leveraging these insights to reach out to the same audience too.”

The study revealed that the economy is the #1 factor impacting the Millennial generation today, with 68% feeling personally touched by the global economic crisis. But despite significant economic concerns, the vast majority of Millennials worldwide demonstrate a strong sense of happiness and optimism.

  • Over three-quarters (76%) describe themselves as “very happy.”
  • Millennials’ levels of happiness outweigh stress levels by a factor of over 2 to 1.
  • Philippines’ Millennials report the highest levels of happiness in Asia (83%), followed by millennials from India (81%) and China (80%). Both millennials from Thailand and Malaysia were close to the global average, while Singapore millennials were below the global average at 69%.

“We have a wealth of research on how young people approach life, what they consider important and how they cope with challenging situations,” said Kurz. “This study builds on Viacom’s already significant leadership in understanding our audiences and is a perfect example of our commitment to extending this knowledge and expertise globally.”

Following is a snapshot of additional key findings from the study:


Economic concerns have resulted in a legacy of fear around job security and doubts about upward mobility.

  • Unemployment outweighs world hunger as the top global issue that young people want to see solved.
  • Almost half of young people (49%) believe that job security will continue to get worse.
  • A full 78% would rather have a minimum wage job than no job at all.
  • While 38% of young people in 2006 strongly agreed with the statement, “I will earn more than my parents,” that percentage is down to 25% in the post-crisis era.


Spending time with family is the top driver of happiness for Millennials today.

“Thanks to the importance Millennials place on family bonds, the family unit today is closer than ever,” added Kurz. “‘The Next Normal,’ based on the widest ever cross-section of Millennials, confirms that this emphasis on family is a global phenomenon.”

Friendships, both real-life and online, are another key driver of happiness. Among Millennials, there is a trend towards smaller circles of real-life friends compared with online friends, which are skyrocketing.

  • ·         Over the past six years, Millennials have maintained about the same number of best friends, but their wider circle of everyday friends is shrinking.
  • ·         On the other hand, Millennials average well over 200 online friends. In the past six years, there has been a significant jump in the number of online contacts whom they consider friends, but have never actually met in person.


Rather than defining the Millennial generation, technology is more of an enabler. If asked, a Millennial might say, “Technology doesn’t make me who I am. It lets me be who I am.” Technology underpins relationships and plays an important role in sustaining happiness and broadening horizons.

  • ·         Three quarters of Millennials believe social media has a beneficial effect on relationships with friends.
  • ·         A full 73% of Millennials say access to the Internet changes the way they think about the world.
  • ·         Millennials in Asia are somewhat more active than elsewhere in the world on Facebook and Twitter while watching TV (apart from Japan).  China stands out as being particularly active microblogging on Weibo and Philippines Millennials are generally highly enthusiastic users of all kinds of communications.
  • ·         In Thailand, social media activities are (42% send messages while 46% communicate) higher than text messaging while watching TV (27%).


Millennials are displaying a growing sense of national pride and interest in maintaining local traditions. At the same time, they have an increasingly open and tolerant view of other countries and cultures.

  • ·         83% agree “I’m proud to be [X] nationality,” up from 77% in 2006.
  • ·         76% agree that it’s important to maintain their country’s traditions, up from 68% in 2006.
  • ·         73% think it’s great to have people from other countries coming to live in their respective home country, up from 51% in 2006.
  • ·         86% describe themselves as tolerant.
  • ·         84% agree “my age group has the potential to change the world for the better.”

“A key priority for VIMN is to provide its audiences around the world with ‘glocal’ content –programming that strikes the right balance between global and local themes,” continued Kurz. “Our findings from ‘The Next Normal’ indicate a truly positive display of ‘glocalisation’ in action among Millennials at an even deeper level.”


This study indicates that “The Next Normal” is much more “we” than “me.” Key defining traits for the Millennial generation include a sense of global community, newfound tolerance and flexibility, increased creativity and a powerful desire to share and connect.

  • ·         87% are actively curious about the world.
  • ·         87% apply the phrase “sharing and connecting” to themselves.
  • ·         85% describe themselves as able to adapt quickly to change.
  • ·         93% globally believe it’s our responsibility to treat all people with respect, regardless of race, gender, religion, political viewpoint or sexual orientation.

Source: press release


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella Asia newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing