Despite research pointing to 8-18 year olds as the most media-savvy multi-tasking generation yet to hold a remote, marketing for Media Center PCs and digital home entertainment systems is largely overlooking this demographic.
According to research released by IT research company, Forrester, young people are just as likely to be watching TV and surfing the Net at the same time as they are to be doing either task separately. A US-based family health research organisation, the Kaiser Family Institute, found 8- to18-year-olds spent a quarter of their time media multi-tasking, simultaneously watching TV and chatting or listening to music while online.
Despite indications that Generation M is the most media savvy to date, marketing for digital home entertainment systems has focused on mums and dads rather than their progeny.
Altech's national sales manager, Kevin Hartin, said the local builder's marketing for its Maestro Media Center system focused on the alpha male rather than his kids.
"The Maestro is a premium product that seems to be the domain of the Alpha male. We're not pitching it at the younger generation at all," he said. "As the XBox 360 comes to the fore that will begin to change, but at this stage kids just don't play a big role in the purchasing decision."
Optima's retail product manager, David Choi, said he was keen to find ways to target the younger demographic but needed more commitment from Microsoft and other vendors.
"Microsoft has left it to local systems builders to promote the product themselves," he said. "If you see a Media Center advertised it will be from the big international manufacturers. We're not doing any Media Center advertising at the moment, although we'd like to."
Optima is attempting to use the XBox 360 launch as a fillip for the Media Center range, targeting younger users with the digital convergence message.
"We are running a competition to win an XBox 360 where people have to go to a website and watch a demonstration of a Media Center in operation," Choi said. "We hope that will spread the message of the XBox 360 as a Media Center extender. With limited funds it's very difficult to get the message out."