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Nielsen's new Digital Consumer Report examines 'Generation C'

February 23, 2012 |  7:01 am

Studentphones
At the start of the decade, Nielsen talked about "Generation C," or the connected generation.

It was a group of teens and 20-somethings who came of age in the time of Myspace and Facebook, who used mobile devices and social media platforms to remain constantly in touch with their "tribes" --  people who share common interests, causes or movements.

Nielsen's and NM Incite's newly released State of the Media: U.S. Digital Consumer Report underscores just how connected this group truly is. Americans ages 18 to 34 make up just 23% of the population, but they represent an outsized portion of consumers watching online video (27%), visiting social networking/blog sites (27%), owning tablet computers (33%) and using a smartphone (39%).

Radha Subramanyam, Nielsen’s senior vice president of media analytics, said this group is instantly recognizable: They're the ones furiously texting, even while sitting in a roomful of people. They don't think twice about pulling out their mobile phones in a fancy restaurant.

"When we start marketing them, we have to think differently," Subramanyam said. "They're consuming all different kinds of media, and they expect a direct relationship with brands.... This voracious device usage, which is almost an extension of their fingers, is tied to [their] expectations for instantaneous gratification and instantaneous response from brands."

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-- Dawn C. Chmielewski

Photo: A group of friends play on iPhones and an iPad outside the Pasadena Apple store in October 2011. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times.

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