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35% of U.S. Tweens Own a Mobile Phone, According to Nielsen


The Nielsen Company today released the findings of an in-depth study on the mobile media and cross media behavior of U.S. “tweens” (ages 8-12).

The report estimates that:

* 35% of tweens own a mobile phone.

* 20% of tweens have used text messaging.

* 21% of tweens have used ring & answer tones.

While text-messaging and ringtones remain the most pervasive non-voice functions on the phone, other content such as downloaded wallpapers, music, games and Internet access also rank highly among tweens.

According to Nielsen, 5% of tweens access the Internet over their phone each month. While 41% of tween mobile Internet users say they do so while commuting or traveling (to school, for example), mobile content such as the Internet is also a social medium for this audience: 26% of tween mobile Internet users say they access the web while at a friend’s house and 17% say they do so at social events.

Young mobile users are also turning to their phones for in-home entertainment:

* 58% of tweens who download or watch TV on their phone do so at home;

* 64% of tweens who download or play music on their phone do so at home;

* 56% of tweens who access the Internet on their phone do so at home.

“Tweens use their mobile phones, and media in general, in very unique and important ways,” said Jeff Herrmann, VP of Mobile Media for Nielsen Mobile. “Marketers and media executives need to understand these ‘digital natives’ as they mature and reshape the way we all think about new and traditional media.”

Regarding cross media behavior of tweens, Nielsen reports that tweens spend less time surfing the Internet than their teen counterparts. In this report, 48% of U.S. tweens said they spend less than one hour per day online. When they are online, 70% of tweens use the Internet for gaming. Comparatively, 81% of U.S. teens say they spend one hour or more per day online, with e-mail being the most pervasive online activity for this age group.

“In addition to the differences between adult and youth media consumers, there’s an important gap between the media behaviors of teens and tweens,” said Herrmann. “This report, which includes insights from more than 5,500 teens and tweens, dissects how these demographic segments are engaging with mobile and traditional media.”

The report, “Kids on the Go: Mobile Usage by U.S. Teens and Tweens,” was conducted by Nielsen Mobile and BASES, two services of Nielsen. It also provides insights on teen and tween use of specific content brands, genre preferences, overall use of leisure time and demographic profiles. The full report will be released on December 14.

Nielsen’s research combines insights from survey responses of more than 5,500 teens and tweens from the BASES ePanel. BASES has extensive experience interviewing children and follows strict guidelines, considering attention span, comprehension and other factors of the age group. Tween interviews were paired, where the adult panelist sat with the child. This results in a average participation rate of 65%. Additional data was supplied from Nielsen Mobile’s “Bill Panel” of more than 40,000 wireless lines as well as the third-quarter results from Nielsen Mobile’s 75,000-person Audience and Behavior panel.
About Nielsen Mobile

Nielsen Mobile, a service of The Nielsen Company, is the world’s largest provider of syndicated consumer research to the telecom and mobile media markets. After completing its acquisition of Telephia, Inc. in August 2007, The Nielsen Company launched Nielsen Mobile to integrate Telephia’s telecom expertise with Nielsen’s global media and marketing research capabilities. For more information, please visit
About bases

BASES, a service of The Nielsen Company, provides services that help its clients achieve growth through successful innovation. BASES offers a broad range of services related to innovation strategy and new initiative qualification, optimization & commercialization. BASES is known for its analytical and forecasting expertise, predictive metrics and an unmatched ability to connect with and interpret consumer needs around the world.
About The Nielsen Company

The Nielsen Company is a global information and media company with leading market positions and recognized brands in marketing information (ACNielsen), media information (Nielsen Media Research), online intelligence (NetRatings and BuzzMetrics), trade shows and business publications (Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Adweek). The privately held company is active in more than 100 countries, with headquarters in Haarlem, the Netherlands, and New York, USA. For more information, please visit


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