Originally published on the Viacom Blog.

As Viacom’s international audience grows and the Millennial population stands at 2.5 billion worldwide, we set out to create a definitive guide to this generation’s distinctive attitudes, behaviors and aspirations. Building on our heritage of global research, we undertook “The Next Normal: An Unprecedented Look at Millennials Worldwide,” a study unparalleled in scale and the first truly global portrait of this generation. Our research spanned 24 countries across every continent, tapping into the minds of Millennials through 15,000 interviews, in-depth explorations and expert commentary.

“The Next Normal” represents the Millennial experience and uncovers how different the world has become thanks to this highly influential generation. Some sentiments we heard over and over:

  •  “Technology doesn’t make me who I am, it lets me be who I am”
  • “I still want to land the job of my dreams, but right now it’s more important to get a job at all”
  •  “My age group has the potential to change the world for the better”
  •  “It is great to have people from other countries coming to live [in my country]”
  • “Having access to the internet makes me curious and changes the way I think about the world”
  • “We can learn from global trends and ideas to push for improvements and change here in our country”
  •  “Sharing and connecting, it isn’t just about Facebook and Twitter – it’s about maintaining a meaningful connection with friends and family”

The state of the global economy is hitting this generation hard, with 68% feeling personally touched by the global economic crisis. And it’s hitting close to home when it comes to their job prospects – this is the first time we’ve seen unemployment trump world hunger as the top global issue that young people want to see solved. At the same time, more than three-quarters of Millennials worldwide describe themselves as “very happy.” And when we looked back at data from 2006, we found that Millennials today are even happier today than they were back then.  Young people today are demonstrating an amazing duality when it comes to harsh economic realities and their ability to be happy.

We also found an interesting duality in how Millennials feel about their own country and its place in the world – a mix of pride and tolerance. Young people are feeling greater pride in country and a growing interest in maintaining local traditions. At the same time, they’re becoming more open and curious about other countries and cultures. A full 76% say it’s great to have people from other countries come to live in their country.

Millennials also showed a strong global response to world issues. With more access than ever, Millennials today take global trends and localize them to their own place and experience. They’re the first truly “glocal” generation – a moniker we can now prove with numbers from the study. It’s interesting fodder for a media company.

As with all of our audience insights, these findings will inform every part of our strategy. The study will drive our programming, our partnerships, our marketing. And especially as we continue to expand our brands across the world, it will tell us when to be local, and when to go global.

Christian Kurz is Vice President of Research & Insights for Viacom International Media Networks. Follow Christian at @kurzch