The Curious Minds study takes centre-stage at MTV youth forum

MUMBAI: If there’s one thing MTV constantly endeavors to know is what makes its core audience – the youth – tick!


Every year, the brand undertakes massive research to understand its target audience and the findings are presented at the annual MTV Youth Marketing Forum.


This year, the highlight of the forum was ‘The Curious Minds’ study conducted by MTV India, which has thrown up some interesting insights into how youngsters today view life and the times in which they are living.


As, part of ‘The Curious Minds’ study, MTV spoke to more than 11,000 people aged 13 to 25 years in over 40 Sec A & B cities across India. “Curious Minds is the largest insight study we have commissioned in terms of spread. We have brought in fresh new techniques to collect and analyze the data. What has emerged is that today, young people are using their curiosity to curate their lives. It was a great pleasure for me to share this with our business partners in order to build a strong connect with young people through cutting edge content. Think Young, Think MTV," said MTV India executive vice president and business head Aditya Swamy.


Elaborating on the findings of the study, he said: “We’re in the business of young people, not in the business of broadcast. We went to 40 towns, over a period of six months to form the Curious Minds. There were some very stark observations that we noticed viz., for today’s youth, ‘ignorance is not bliss, but blasphemy’. They staunchly believe that they are ‘one’ tribe, and operate accordingly. They want ‘kill boring!’ They feel that their parents are their collaborators and treat them as their partners in crime. 70 per cent of today’s youth, based on our research, feel that when in a relationship, one must nurture it and commit to it. Another interesting observation was that the youth in smaller towns like Meerut are more ambitious and hungry than the ones in bigger towns like Mumbai. The current generation is the largest selling group of youth.”


Swamy said that the purpose for the research was to keep pace with the current audience. “For us, research is the most exciting part of our job. While on our research, we went to watch a movie in Meerut just to understand the difference in the youth’s response from Meerut to that of Mumbai. We started the research in October and ended it in March, and will be publishing the hard copy of the research in the next few months and it is available for pre-order at,” he said.


The recently concluded MTV Youth Marketing Forum brought together some of the best known marketers, trend hunters and thought leaders from across the globe to dissect the bold and ever-changing world of the youth. The day-long forum saw the best line-up of speakers including Irfan van Ewijk – founding member of ID&T; Steven Sos – regional sales director, Shazam Entertainment; Heather Smith – board chair, Rock The Vote; Christian Kurz – VP – Research, Insights and Reporting, Viacom International; and Shashi Tharoor, Union Minister for Human Resource Development and Member of Parliament.


The interaction with Tharoor was moderated by funnyman Cyrus Broacha and had Tharoor saying that he had competed with Rishi Kapoor in a play while at Campion School, SoBo. Tharoor’s observations on today’s youth were rather interesting. He said youngsters today own the country, are worked up by important issues like the Jessica Lall murder case, the Jyoti Singh Delhi rape case and so on. They want the country to be free from the shackles of age-old ideas and opinions.


Asked about the issues that needed to be addressed immediately, Tharoor said: “Firstly, corruption has to be dealt with immediately, followed by, secondly, the inefficiencies in society and finally, the citizens of this country need to have a profound sense of what it is being an Indian.” Predictably, he added that his favourite politician currently was Rahul Gandhi, and his least favourite was Narendra Modi.  


Ewijk of ID&T, which is one of the largest dance organisers in the Netherlands, and the European arm of SFX's expansion as global EDM events promoter, spoke of his growing up days in Amsterdam and finding his identity and forming ID&T along with friends Duncan and Theo. He pointed out the two things that youth is interested in: Who are you? And who is your next ex? Adding that music reflected the times we live in, he cited the example of the 90s Gulf War and how it inspired music to take a darker route with metal sounds and hard rock. Significantly, he launched the 10,000 hours Project, a project that inspires young people around the world to donate time and give something back. “Renovating playgrounds for disadvantaged kids or offering a smile and a helping hand in a retirement home. United by music, thousands of volunteers are joining our crew and becoming part of our family,” he said.


While Smith of Rock the Vote, a non-partisan organization that supports non-endorsed candidates and encourages the youth to vote and make a difference, said that the best way to tempt the youth to go and vote was to make it relevant to them and encourage them to “demystify” the process and most importantly, encourage them to ask questions, demand answers.


Interestingly, Rock the Vote has registered more than five million young people to vote and has become a trusted source of information for young people wanting to register and cast their vote.


Kurz made an interesting observation during his speech. “Gen X feels that when the youth, separated by geography, can still manage to maintain long-distance relationships, why can’t foreign leaders get along with each other?!” he said.


Meanwhile, MTV: The Curious Minds study has been selected for presentation at the ESOMAR Congress (Nice, France) on the basis of cutting edge research methodologies used for the study, which included excellent use of Google Hangouts and paired research, driven by word-of-mouth.

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