The fast changing preferences and lifestyles of the youth continue to stump broadcasters and marketers across the globe. For those in India, life just got a bit more complex going by MTV's 'Many Me' study, conducted across more than 50 cities and 11,000 respondents (13 to 25 years) as the young say they have no problem inhabiting many different worlds at the same time.
Opinionated, brave and a work-in-progress is how they see themselves. They want to be entrepreneurs rather than jump into a stable job and place a huge value on being unique and independent. The content they watch is different from that they share and they are not looking at fairy tale endings. They have multiple interests to suit their many personalities, but mom and dad are their role models.
While 81 per cent respondents said they want to be self-employed eventually, this doesn't mean they all want to set up a start-up venture; they just want to be their own bosses. Also 86 per cent of the respondents said that they would give work-life balance priority and 80 per cent were open to taking a sabbatical during their careers.
The role of technology in their lives is critical, but in a comparison between the previous survey (2014) and this one, its character and relevance have changed. For the majority, tech was convenient and informative, but today it is an empowering tool. Being opinionated is a given for this generation, but they now want their opinions to make a difference. They say they are brave, which is 'bold with a purpose'. And what content do they consume? According to the study, they seek out news, but do not always share it with their friends. They share inspirational/ motivational content.
"A key word for the youth today is inspiration. In the study, one of the most shared posts was about a grandmother who has seen partition and even at around 80 years, she is independent and a source of strength. This also provides a sense of self-gratification - the term has a new meaning. It is not about monetary achievements or material acquisitions. It is about being inspired and able to inspire," says Ferzad Palia, head, youth and English entertainment, Viacom18. Eighty four per cent said inspiration gave them courage to make difficult decisions and 82 per cent said that they actively sought out inspiration.
The youth are also more accepting of flaws, giving rise to the term 'flaw-some' coined in the survey. They wear their faults like tattoos and 55 per cent believed that it was important to take risks to grow in life. This ties in with another finding; the youth consider themselves to be 'beta-versions' of a future self. The objective is no longer turning into perfect people, but being better than their present selves. Are they getting more realistic or just plain cynical? Well, the study says, the young are not blindly optimistic. Their happiness index has come down. In 2012, it was around 94 per cent which was down to 89 per cent in 2014 and in 2016, 73 per cent. They are not unhappy, however, just pragmatic. Also 87 per cent said that they are proud of all things Indian.
Lastly, the study throws up an interesting insight into youth relationships. This generation values 'bromance over romance'. They invest time and effort in sustaining friendships and are no longer waiting for the right partner. Also 76 per cent believe that their best friend is a better person than them and 67 per cent say they would rather deal with stress alone, instead of turning to friends or family for support.
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