Knowledge Library

Youth Media Myths And The Newspaper

Kids and Youth Marketing

Gavin Rheeder, the Marketing Communications Manager of Beeld talks about his experience interacting with JIP - Beeld's weekly youth insert. He explodes readership myths and delves into media consumption habits of the youth.

1. The Youth is Homogenous
The youth is often discussed in the media as a universal, homogenous group - nothing could be further from the truth. This is a diverse market with varied interests.
"While at JIP we are fortunate to know exactly who we serve - Afrikaans speaking teenagers in the higher LSMs - there is a huge variety of tastes and opinions out there yet to be explored," says Rheeder.

2. The Youth don't read
While it is true that South Africa does struggle with illiteracy and a general lack of young readers, this is not true of the Afrikaans youth market. Our research uncovered that the Afrikaans youth are avid readers, currently grazing a number of publications and reading online.

Ever the sceptics, these young readers feel uncomfortable trusting a single authoritative source, and prefer to make-up their own minds from a variety of sources. JIP meets this demand with an editorial style that swings towards strong opinions, not authoritative statements.

3. The Youth don't like newspapers
"With the bulk of South Africa's population under the age of 25 any newspaper that doesn't have some initiative to reach the youth is missing the point," comments Rheeder. The team at JIP hopes to create a solid bridge to move readers from Jip while they are at school, to Kampus-Beeld at university, and ultimately cultivate loyal Beeld, Volksblad and Die Burger readers after they graduate.

This myth is tied to the first myth, linked to the belief that the youth believe that the newspaper day has come and gone. "We discount this theory, the response to JIP at our school road shows has been incredible," comments Rheeder. "With the right content presented with appealing graphics the youth do enjoy reading newspapers."

4. The Youth wants soft issues
There is a perception that the youth only want to read fluffy news - celebrities, gossip and the like. While the Afrikaans youth is certainly plesierig, and enjoy having a good time they also enjoy strong opinions about issues affecting their lives. "They take their role as socially responsible citizens seriously and eschew the reckless behaviour of previous generations," comments Rheeder "They don't want to take the environment for granted, they are AIDS aware and they care about global climate change."

5. The Youth wants slang
They can sniff an adult talking down to them a mile away, trying to disguise this by adopting "hip" language. While they like the easy to read language, they don't appreciate slangy or "ghettosized" language. "One recent editorial change was toning down on the use of exclamation marks in the newspaper - a typical young style," says Rheeder.

Interestingly, the Afrikaans youth also don't want to be communicated in mixed English and Afrikaans - in line with cultural icons like Chris Chameleon electing to communicate in pure Afrikaans, "With language use comes a strong sense of identity, and the Afrikaans youth has a clear sense of who they are and where they come from," comments Rheeder "Heralding a new golden age for Afrikaans newspapers."

About JIP
JIP is the youth supplement found in Beeld, Volksblad and Die Burger with a readership of 316 000 catering for Afrikaans readers in the 13-25 age groups. Its mixture of local and international music, movies, games, fashion, topical issues, technology and gossip, ensure the publication's continual appeal to readers. To meet the millennial generations' demand to interact, JIP provides many channels to access the brand including a television insert on MK89 on DSTV, and regular sponsored events, usually supporting South African music.

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