PAUL MEYERS Internet: The Most Fascinating Medium for the Youth

Hi! Everybody, well, great, great intro there, thanks Cyrus. I'd like to thank Mtv and Brand Equity for inviting me here today and Provogue. 

Just set the record straight I am the kinky one ok, I am the kinky person. I wanna talk to you today a little bit about the internet, youth on the internet and specifically in Asia. 

Ok so what we are gonna talk about is the obligatory part about us because we are not Sony, or Nokia, or Swatch, or Pepsi unfortunately yet, but learn a little bit about Asiacontent, I wanna talk about MTV Asia online which is a series of web sites that we are producing across Asia then moving to the importance of internet to youth, the importance of internet from a brand perspective because I think that it's really pertinent to what we are talking about here today. A little bit about what our audience the youth wants and then hopefully have a little time for your turn to ask some questions 

Ok, so let's start off with who or what is

We are a fairly new company we recently listed in Nasdaq, our mission is to become Asia's leading internet consumer business ok, with the joint venture partner for a number of companies we do content, advertising and e-commerce that's our strategy ok, we create premium branded local contact with a number of world class partners, we deliver targeted advertising to online audiences across Asia, and we start to connect Asian buyers and sellers online, how do we do that? 

Well first we have offices in A countries in Asia, we are about two and a half years old we have expanded, we are actually about four hundred and fifty people now we are in China, Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and now in India we have an office in Bombay, talk a little bit about we cover 93 percent of the Asian Internet users right now. So, our slogan is global brands- global reach we have a number of very deep partnerships, joint ventures with MTV of course as well as C-Net, Eonline, Sportsline, hear me emplayer which is the world's stickiest game inside, and most recently with fashion television. 

What we do is we create local content local branded sites in different markets across Asia with local editorial teams, marketing teams, engineering teams to bring the local brands to global market place in the internet. 

I have a joint venture with double click and I am sure some of you are familiar with double clicks, it's the world's largest online advertising agency we have six Double Click offices now across Asia, we are also moving into e-commerce and although e-commerce is in very early days here in Asia on the internet we see a very bright future. 

We have a joint venture with NBCI as well as a number of other ones, companies such as Disk Ball selling CD Roms online, ok . 

So let me tell you a little bit about the joint venture we have with MTV, ok. this is between Asiacontent and MTV Interactive now as it's known out of New York and it was formed in January of 1999 and this is to bring a number of branded localized internet sites to Asia under the MTV umbrella, so, what we have in the past year almost exactly a year and a half now we have launched four sites, which is primarily for the South-East Asian audience, and that's in English and its run out of Singapore,, is run out of Taiwan we have offices in Taipei, and that focuses primarily on Hong Kong and Taiwanese audiences. 

Very recently we have launched Korea, and that's just been fabulously successful all in Korean and about two weeks ago we launched in China,, which is a little different in than Chinese language version that I mention in the context of Taiwan in that it's in simplified Chinese and it's focused on the main land China audience. And of course as many of you know and many of you have been asking mtvindia is coming very very soon. 

Now unfortunately I love to give numbers and I encourage all of you marketers and advertising folks and brand managers to be asking any internet company what their numbers are and how you can verify them. 

Now I am gonna violate that rule right away in that I can't give you the actual numbers today because we've recently went IPO on Nasdaq. There is something called the quiet period and it extends from six weeks prior from before to six weeks beyond the IPO in which point we can't give a lot of important data, what I can tell you though is over the past year we have grown very very significantly in terms of page views which is our key measurement of success on the internet ok but well above fifteen million pages a month and really growing and we expect to see India adding significantly to this total ok. 

Some key matrix here, in general may be you can do the math really quickly from from zero, we have been averaging 320 percent monthly paging growth over the last twelve months that's month on month ok, very very good growth we have six hundred thousand unique visitors every month, over three hundred thousand registered users ok registered users are people that we have their names, their addresses, their gender, their email addresses, some of their educational back ground ok, so we know a lot about these people they are giving this information to us willingly as they enter into contests and the events that we have or permission marketing we ask, we make sure that people are letting us know or we are letting them know they were collecting this data and very willingly they are giving it to us. Some of these registered users sign up for our emails every month. We are sending out nearly a million emails every month to specific targeted one to one audience members across Asia very very important marketing tool for us in April we had over two hundred thousand audience hours online ok so that means a very significant portion of Asia and Asian youths specifically we are spending time on our internet sites for mtvasia. 

A few more factoids this helps us understand the youth market and why am I gonna pontificate about it a little. 

Seventy percent of our audience is between sixteen and twenty four the majority of students. Now it used to be five, seven, ten years ago they are having a student's audience which was necessarily a good thing I am sure some of you can remember along with me that it was not a core key audience but times have changed and that's why we are all here today that sixteen to twenty four demography is very very important to all of us here and the fact that many of these people are students is not really a problem infact we actually know a lot more about them because of that depending upon which country we are in. We are talking about here there is a small split between male and female but in general it balances out what we are finding.

In South-East Asia the mtv site we do we in general we do a lot of polling, we do a lot of surveys, a lot of polls every six months. We do our own polls on issues decides to find out who people are what there habits what their buying habits are we get between ten and fifteen thousand respondents who fully fill out all twenty, twenty five questions and tell us a lot about themselves ok, so in South-East Asia what we most recently learned was that 47 percent of these, of our audiences have surfed and watched television simultaneously. 

This is real different kind of audience is what this is telling us now ok, I don't know how many of you are fifteen years old or have fifteen years old or know fifteen years old but for all of us old people here multi tasking such as watching TV and surfing the internet is very very difficult our brains. They just don't work like that ok, not so for today's youth ok, they can, they can have three or four or five different thing going on their on their screen. They can be chatting, they can be surfing, they can be downloading and they can be watching TV and often talking on the phone at the same time. 

This is some thing may be it's genetic I don't know but what we are finding today is that our audience and I think in general in Asia the internet youth audience is able to multi task very very important when you start to think about directing your messages to them right because you can come at all sorts of different angles. 

We'll talk about that in a second. What we find also is seventy nearly seventy five percent three quarters of our audience watches MTV between five and twenty hours a week fair amount of television watching in addition to surfing right? And most amazingly we found that fifty percent of our audience actually like banner ads ok. Now that's pretty amazing because I don't know anyone personally who likes banner ads except sales people who like to sell them. 

But I don't think anybody here is really enamored with them but what we is that our audience on these sites actually like them especially when they can learn something new that pertains specifically to them if you can target your ad message to the right web sites to the right audience. 

In this demographic we found out that people actually pay attention and click through one of the key measurement of success of a banner campaign not the only one but one that I am sure everybody is aware of is what's called click through gate. That's the percentage of people who actually click on a banner ad and move to advertisers site. 

The industry average globally or even just in the US is about one half of one percent ok, direct mail is a little bit better but we still persist in throwing those banners up what we are finding on the MTV sites that this is averaging between five and seven percent well above the average, well well above the average ok, our advertisers love it and it's an important thing that as we start to measure sites and you look at the youth sites and you look at youth measurement that actually this target audience pays attention to banners and if they see something's compelling and that they like and that is targeted correctly to them they will click ok. 

Very important data in Asia about the Internet is notoriously sparse ok, and whether it's in India, or Japan, or Singapore or anywhere what we find is that there is very little independent verifiable data ok. Everybody here clamors for this because this is really important for the internet industry. And if you're spending your money or your clients money on the internet you want to be able to verify the data that's coming at you. 

We use industry standard softwares such as Dart or Web Trans or Media House to measure our figures and we'd gladly show them to you. Not everybody does that ok, there are lot of highly inflated figures. 

Equally so as you go across Asia and you try to measure what people want or what trans are it is very very hard to find Pan Asian independent data. A little bit of it we had last year was there was a digital youth study co-sponsored by MTV and Asia Marketing Institute (AMI) ok. So it was addressed to fifteen to twenty year olds and will be an important part of your households future ok. Uniformly they said yes ok. And in some of the more developed markets like Korea, or China, or Taiwan where the internet is very prevalent eighty to ninety percent of the people said that. 

Yes, ok, interestingly as when you ask this question as to when it might become an important part of your household future, what we see is a very different breakdown ok. Again Korea, Taiwan, seen it happening very very soon. 

Interestingly China as well in the lesser developed countries like Indonesia we see that it changes a little bit I think here in India there's a great enthusiasm especially amongst this target group. Fifteen to twenty four year olds in the urban areas for the internet I think has moved to more outlying areas you would find a different kind of breakdown but I think here Mumbai, Chennai, Pune you would find that people are really really enthusiastic in this key fifteen to twenty four year old group. 

So let's cut to the chase here why does the internet matter to a brand ok and I am gonna share some of the experiences that we've had in running the internet sites and producing the internet sites for MTV across Asia. 

Our goal was to create the number one hang out place on the internet for Asian viewers in each market focused on music focused on youth activities ok, leveraging the strength of the brand but also bringing it online ok. So one of the key things here to remember about branding on the internet, working on the internet is that differently from other media ok, you can have much wider and deeper relationship ok. 

What do I mean by that? 

If we look at television, television is great. MTV is a wonderful thing for those of you from other channels or from other media magazines, newspapers ok. It's kinda finite. Those in certain amount of information that your audience can get in a day or a week, not so online if you provide the right kind of information in the right kind of context, your audience can communicate with your brand and can dig deeper into your branding and your brand's content online. Very very important here ok. I'll show you give you an example of that with that it allows you to is to build a relationship with the audience when they get what they want when they want it, I don't know about many of you but I do a lot of surfing late at night. Ok, may be my favorite television programme isn't on at two in the morning but I can go and find about it online. Or may be you missed a cricket match and you wanna find more about it and the details, you can go online whenever you are free not necessarily when you can watch it or listen to it on the radio. 

The second point here is that the internet provides better communication and communication as we all know especially with this demographic means involvement. You can have a better and more involved relationship with your target market on the internet because two key ways here, the internet allows the audience members who are coming to your brand, coming to your site, to talk amongst themselves. 

And as we all know this is one of the key elements of youth marketing as it were, ok, that people can feel like they're individuals and yet the part of, part of a larger group the internet facilitates that through chat rooms, through bulletin boards, through contests ok, no matter where this person is and we get visitors from all over the world coming to our sites we find that they communicate with one another whether it's about music, or parents, or jobs, or sex, or television, or whatever it is that interests them. We provide these forum to talk to one another and they do, they really do ok. 

The second part here is that we also can communicate, the audience can communicate to us, us meaning we are the representatives in this case of the keepers of the rife for MTV ok. So not only here we communicate and the audience communicate with the channel directly through the internet ok, which might ordinarily be very very difficult to do they can tell us about the web site, they can tell us what they like what they don't like ok. 

Really important on the internet as you have heard today repeatedly this is a fairly fickle audience and what's cool today may not be cool next Thursday ok. And I am not the right person to tell a fifteen year old in Chennai what's cool for them. You know some middle age white guy is not the guy to say that this is cool ok, I am the arbiter here you know. They have to tell us ok. 

Great thing about the internet is that we get this information we listen to them, we change it we can change the site it's very easy to change it's very easy to maneuver into new sections, into new topics, into new looks, new feels ok, two other areas here are of course the money part they have to talk about it right that we have enhanced advertising opportunities online especially if you have an offline brand whether it's tele vison, newspaper, magazine, there's lot of different ways that you can leverage those advertising relationship and opportunities online as well and there's very they're increasingly better opportunities for targeted selling of goods and services, ecommerce. 

E-commerce is still in its very very young days and focused to a consumer right now in Asia but in the next three to five years we are gonna see a lot of really good opportunities to be selling to these audiences that are creating a destination or location for, ok, so lets walk through a couple of these wider and deeper audience relationship ok, whatever your online presence is its not a brusher, it's not just an off but online version of whatever it is you are doing online you have the opportunity here to offer a broader range of content and offerings to your audience as well as opportunities for them to get involved let me give you some examples here, ok, here in Korea, this is a Korean site ok, while we do have a number of areas that pertain specifically to the channel what we are also doing is on air is we also have what we call fun stuff, games, and contests and things that you can download music A to Z ok, this is 15,000 listings in Korean of rock and roll bands, or pop bands, or jazz groups whether Korean or international ok, this is the service that we feel and we found through researches really really important to our audience ok, if you see a video on MTV and you like this band and you have never heard of them where you're gonna find out more about them, how you're gonna find more information well we provide that service.

We also have the ability to have news and features and interviews not only from Korea but also from around the world ok, from around Asia and from around the world we have other kinds of columns and J pop and K pop and Chinese pop lot of opportunities here ok, interesting things about Microsoft ok, music let me show you how how we go deeper into music.

MTV of course is a music channel but again if you are watching and you miss a programme you watch a show how do you find more about your artists that you like or somebody else likes so we do lot of interviews, lot of snap shots, lot of racker reviews lot of chart action, artist of the month to give our user the ability to go deeper into the content of the they are used to be associated with mtv so this is the way that we brought the brand online and make it deeper so that we can build the relationship further with the audience online. So now we have an on air component and even an online component of the associators with MTV and it works very well ok, number two better communication amongst the audience. 

We provide lots and lots of different ways to the audience to communicate with one another some thing that this particular medium the internet really really is very good in doing your newspaper, or a magazine, even a television or radio station it's very hard to get your audience members the people who are so with the brand to talk to one another now as you know for this demographic finding out what's cool is really really important ok, and the way you do that to find out if you are cool is to talk to other people so we let our audience communicate with one another through e cards, and some ways that send pictures of the VJ'S from one person to another and also very very sophisticated bulletin boards and let me show you one of these where we have people give us feed back on our site, on music, this happens to be Sound Scape ok, things that they like about music but also this is where they give us feedback about our site, about the channels, about the VJ'S about what they wanna see about their parents, about sex, about education whatever it is that they want we get a lot of information here that we can learn about but they are also communicating with one another ok, now more importantly for us, us is brand managers, us is marketers ok, its better communication from audiences as well now I know that if you if you have a product that you are managing or a brand that you are managing you probably spend a lot of time and lot of money trying to figure out what people think about your product ok, the internet will not pen a see up for this is actually very very good way to find this out ok, it's an excellent medium ok, we do a lot of polls, as I was saying we had for the millennium an ultimate millennium poll that is your favorite band, your favorite video for the millennium here we have 75,000 entries per week the entry is required your name, your email address, your city, your country, your gender and your age ok, we learned a lot about our audience ok, what kind of music they like, where they come from, how old they are, how interested they are in the product ok, a lot of really key information plus they were able to feel as though they had input into the site ok, so kind of becomes a symbiotic relationship now that what they are saying is important right it's being heard, it's being reflected that go to the site and see this ok, another key point in marketing is the demographic we do a lot of surveys, we do audience and questionnaires about twenty to twenty five questions we do every six months on our own and then alternating quarters we also have an outside agency do them so that we can verify what we are finding out as well we insentify our audience minimally give them few CD's a chance to win one or five or ten CD's what we find is that we get fifteen to twenty thousand people coming and telling us what's about themselves ok, again its permission marketing we are not doing this surreptitiously we are asking them to tell us that we can find out more this helps us in number of ways as is the managers of this it helps us understand who are audience is it helps us understand what they want but it also helps talking to you, the advertisers, the marketers, so we can say this is our audience this is the demographic this is the kind of things that they want ok you as consumers of internet sites and internet brands need to be asking for this kind of information otherwise you just throw in your money out there ok, we do lots and lots of contests, in fact what we found that after music contests are the second most popular part of our web sites ok, the ability to win something whether it's a Boyzone CD, or a trip to Hong Kong to meet Mariah Carrie, or a chance to go to Irelands for the European video world, or even just go to a local movie house and see a flick ok, we are able to provide contests for people that they are very very active and we tied this in the content and we find that the people come back and its very important to them at this age group we do other kinds of online stunts as well we had an April Fools joke where we asked people we told them that Boyzone is breaking up ok, now I don't know how many of you are boy band fans but boy bands are very big Boyzone is the big boy band we put our April fools joke that they were breaking up and we asked people to sign a petition and tell us what they thought about Boyzone breaking up with thirty seven thousand people to this in two day period ok, now these are pretty keen numbers I mean they are millions of consumers who are buying a specific product whether it is Swatch, or a hand phone right now but we get a lot of key data from our audience and we are actually getting them involved in the process, so they keep coming back to us saying yes this is now a part of my life ok, finally we also do lots and lots of research ok, it's really important for us as publishers of the web site and as the monitisation side trying to get the revenues from the web site to understand who our audience is? What they like, what they don't like? We are in a kind of an awkward position now with the mtv Asia side we are hearing from our audience that it's kind of old, kind of stale you it's a it's been five months since we changed it so uncool at the same time we are hearing this we just won a major reward internationally for one of the best web site designs for this very site so what we are gonna do? We win this award we gonna the side and try it again ok, we're gonna keep reinventing it they hearing based on the kind of traffic patterns that we see on the web site, enhanced advertising opportunities look at that there is a play station too there amazing ok, depending upon your brands existing relationship with other advertisers there's a really good opportunity to leverage your online audience and advertising with your offline as well we can set up contests, polls, you click on one of these banners it will send them to an advertisers site, your advertisers site or there may be some activity offline, it may send them to your brand, your magazine, your channel ok, remember 50 percent of this audience doesn't mind these ads if they pertain to that and five to seven percent actually click through which means that some of them are going to be buyers here, so if you looking at a very targeted buy at the youth audience youth web sites actually aren't such a bad idea if you really target your message very well eventually we are gonna move into targeted selling opportunities on the both the South-East Asia sites and in Korea we are selling CD,s right now ok, we are getting some responses it's not huge we are heading triple figures some rates and revenues here pretty impressive, in US dollars but we see this is a learning experience ok, we have a music site, we are able to link the ability to buy an album, buy a CD, stories, promotions that were running with the artists ok, and we are starting who is buying and why they are buying and where they are buying from, we can match that data with other user data and begin to see what kinds of buying opportunities and selling opportunities we have on the site ok, very important in the feature may be not right now but right now as research and information gathering two are really really important so really in summary here why does internet matter to this audience to the youth as it were it allows them to get involved ok, if they like MTV if they like Times of India, if they like Pepsi, ok, the internet allows them to get involved with the brand on a personal level when they want to and how they want to, ok this is really important for positioning your brand and being active on the internet remember that you personal one to one association with your audience can happen here on the internet and its very important to think about how you want to talk to and involve your audience that way they feel as though if they have input they really strive to make that happen on our sites that they become a part of creating the site tell us what do u want tell us we'll put it there vote for your favorite star, vote for your least favorite stars, vote for your least favorite portions of the site, what were it what does it tell us in lots of words ok, lots and lots of well written words in.

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