Tech-savvy is the new suave this Valentine’s Day, and not just on Internet dating sites. According to a new poll released today by AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), young somethings — feeling every bit as romantic as any generation before — are saying, “Be mine” with instant messages, music downloads and romantic online reservations this year, leaving traditional over-the-counter chocolates and flowers to the Casanovas of eras past.

The survey, reaching more than 1,000 18- to 35-year-olds, revealed that online music, streaming video, instant messaging, and other net-based activities powered by high speed Internet can help fuel the modern-day language of love — and could even lend a happy end to the story of Shakespeare’s most famous star-crossed couple.

Tuning to the Net, 47 percent of survey respondents said they would download the song “Hot Hot Hot!!!” and 36 percent would choose “Let Love Rule” to symbolize how passionate they are. Twenty-eight percent said they would write a love song and send a link for downloading to express love to their sweethearts this Valentine’s Day. Nearly 60 percent said that an instant message was the best way Romeo and Juliet might avoid tragedy today.

Also according to the survey sample, romantic broadband-enabled activities that may pave the way for romantic surprises this Valentine’s Day include:

  • — Making online reservations for a night out (53 percent).
  • — Sending interactive e-cards with original love poems (19 percent).
  • — Creating custom music playlists to secretly upload to a crush’s digital music player (15 percent).

Online music may have been an easy fit for many respondents, as music fans downloaded 420 million songs legally over the Internet worldwide in 2005 — a 20-fold increase over the past two years(1). And sources predict that broadband users will spend more than a billion dollars on online music this year, with sales expected to reach $4.5 billion by 2010 (2).

  • (1) SOURCE: The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.
  • (2) SOURCE: The Strategy Analytics Broadband Media and Communications service.

When asked to describe their love in terms of music downloads, the group again showed their affinity for romance. Nearly 60 percent said “Crazy in Love” was the song to symbolize their love life this Valentine’s Day, and 60 percent would send “How Sweet It Is” to a sweetheart. In addition, 46 percent would anonymously send “(Ain’t) Missing You” to an ex.

Music isn’t the only broadband-enabled activity Cupid should take note of this holiday. Downloading romantic movies may also help express the strong affections of today’s 18- to 35-year-olds. To symbolize their current relationships, 41 percent of respondents chose “Love Actually” as the movie they would download from the Net this Valentine’s Day, followed by “Shakespeare in Love” (27 percent), “Much Ado about Nothing” (15 percent), “Ten Things I Hate About You” (13 percent) and, lastly, “Unfaithful” (5 percent).

“So many of today’s younger generations live the digital lifestyle,” said Kieran Nolan, vice president consumer marketing, AT&T broadband. “So, it’s no surprise to see them maximize broadband options like AT&T Yahoo! High Speed Internet to enjoy digital music and movies, instant messaging, streaming video, online gaming and more during special occasions — and throughout the year. We’re all experiencing the ongoing evolution — and convergence — of communications and entertainment as fast-paced, always-on, go-anywhere technologies, like these, continue to grow roots in the mainstream.”

This survey was sponsored by AT&T to provide information on consumer attitudes toward music and technology as it relates to Valentine’s Day. The survey was conducted, using Survey Sampling International’s SurveySpot(TM) nationwide Internet panel, among a sample of 1,086 adults between the ages of 18 and 35 living in the U.S. Interviewing ran Jan. 18 through Jan. 23, 2006, and the survey’s sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points for values at or near 50 percent, given a 95 percent confidence interval.