Monday, July 15, 2019

New Viacom Study Finds That Gen Z Knows Exactly How Powerful It Is | Youth Culture: Power in Progress

A new Viacom study shows how today's global youth are embracing their collective power, and what brands can do about it.

Anyone who has seen an Instagram post go viral or a YouTube video rack up millions of views understands the enormous collective power of Generation Z. But a new study from Viacom Velocity and Viacom Global Consumer Insights shows just how much today’s youth embrace their abilities to evoke change in the media world and beyond, Kidscreen reports.

According to Power in Progress, which fielded 11,000 participants ages 13 to 25 across 10 countries, 61% of young people believe their generation is more powerful than any other before it. Gatekeeping, they believe, is a collective effort.

Gen Zers in the US, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Italy, the Philippines, Poland, South Africa and the UK believe power is increasingly seen as a collaborative exercise that is bolstered through the connected world. Seventy-two percent of participants believe they can have a successful career doing exactly what they want to do, and that same percentage encourages and supports others when they face challenges.

To that end, teens will band together to cancel people and views in which they don’t believe, and everyone is tasked with policing authenticity. More than half (57%) believe that power should belong to everyone, while 62% say that social media gives them a voice on important issues. While 63% believe social media has the greatest impact on their country, only 38% believe people like themselves are well represented in mass media.

In terms of interacting with brands, 50% of Gen Zers think that companies like Facebook, Amazon and Google are too big and powerful, and two-thirds believe brands should play a larger role in social issues. In fact, 70% say brands that do participate in social issues earn their respect.

According to Colleen Fahey Rush, Executive Vice President (EVP) and Chief Research Officer at Viacom Media Networks, young people are energized and emboldened by their beliefs that they can achieve their goals and have an impact in the world. And in order to connect with today’s teens, brands should show a genuine commitment toward earning their trust.

Viacom presented the findings of their Youth Culture: Power in Progress study during a panel at VidCon USA 2019.

From Streaming Media:

Half of Young People See Major Tech Sites as Too Powerful, Finds Viacom

Companies such as Facebook, Amazon, and Google are too big and powerful, agree half of today’s young people. During a VidCon 2019 panel called “Youth Culture: Power in Progress,” two Viacom executives presented the results of global survey showing how young people view power in the world. According to “Power in Progress,” presented by Christian Kurz, senior vice president of global consumer insights for Viacom, and Maya Peterson, senior director of culture and insights for Viacom Velocity, “This generation’s relationship to structural power is still in beta. Many young people can’t yet vote, or even drive, yet their values are starting to drive changes within powerful systems and institutions.”

The study shows a system in flux, but where it’s headed is hard to predict. “Brands are in a new position of power and acceptance,” the study says, noting that young people are twice as likely to trust brands than traditional institutions, and four times more likely to trust brands than politicians. But that doesn’t mean feelings about brands are overwhelmingly positive. Transparency is important to young people, but thanks to platform failures and resulting brand apologies, young people are deeply skeptical about brand integrity. Surprisingly, two-thirds don’t see the system as a barrier to power, while one-third do.

Young people see new media as a way to gain power for themselves, and are collaborating to harness attention and use media in new ways. That includes using media to boost underrepresented voices. With no gatekeepers on new media, young people are free to police authenticity and tell personal stories from new points of view, but also “cancel” people and ideas that don’t agree with their beliefs. The report calls this the “effects of the swarm.”

“Youth Culture: Power in Progress” was created from qualitative discussions and quantitative surveys in several countries, focusing on consumers age 13 to 25.


About Youth Culture: Power in Progress:

Power in Progress is an exploration into the new dynamics of power and how young people around the world are defining, developing, and using their power to create change in their lives and society. Young people are growing up at a time when change matters more than ever. With the convergence of technology and world events, young people have a voice, power, and a platform like never before. Youth culture’s shifting attitudes about power has changed the game when it comes to growing up and generational influence. The status quo of the patriarchy, white privilege and the 70-year-old CEO are getting challenged.

What you’ll learn: How all this impacts on youth culture today, how they play, how they engage on the political stage and how they activate for the movements that they believe in.


For more studies from the Viacom Global Insights team, visit

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