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As Labour and the Conservatives invest thousands into high tech campaigns, mobile messaging could be the key to reaching the elusive youth market that fails to cast a vote.
The ease of mobile text messaging has meant that the young cast more votes for entertainment shows such as 'Big Brother', which in its hay day saw 10 million, (nearly all under 25's) cast an opinion, than the parliamentary elections which in recent years has seen fewer than 50% of under 25s journey to the ballot box.
New research form mobileYouth has found that UK teenagers are currently sending over 22 million text messages a year, and with the successful convergence of TV and messaging in formats such as Big Brother, there looks set to be an increase to well over 24 million messages. That's on average of
5 text messages per youth a day.
The popularity of mobile messaging will continue to soar in 2005, with global youth spending on messaging set to grow from 15 billion pounds to almost 22 billion by 2007.
mobileYouth feels that it would be wise for those looking to 'bridge the gap' between themselves and the young demographic to take note of this emergent trend which combines TV and messaging formats.
The ease of mobile messaging and its mass market appeal has not gone unnoticed with companies such as MTV, BBC and ITV having already incorporated the idea of 'text voting' into their TV shows. Politicians may also find that mobile messaging will enable them to reach directly to the youth population, and harness in those who are able to vote but still do not have the motivation to do so.
It is precisely among young voters, aged 18-19 where activity peaks and messaging becomes an essential tool for social activity. Around 77% of boys actually considered themselves 'heavy texters' compared to around 23% of girls, who all routinely send more than 15 text messages a day. On average a UK teenager will spend 20 pounds a month on messaging alone.
Political parties need ways to bring their agenda to the attention of the young voter and the rapid integration of mobile messaging will no doubt have a noticeable social impact, and may well prove to be the most successful way of targeting the young demographic and reigning in their interaction.
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Published on: 12:00AM on 7th April 2005