My life without cable
Why mass media isn't reaching gen Y
The last time I had cable was in my college dorm room because they forgot to disconnect it after our 1 month free trial, and the last time I paid for it was with my daily chores at home while I was still in high school. For a device that revolutionized entertainment and mass media, you might ask how I could possibly live without it?
I’m from the generation of instant gratification and control. I like (almost need) to push a button and feel like I control what happens. Well, now with Xbox’s Kinect I don’t even push a button “Xbox, Netflix – Play one!” Look ma, no hands! So I wonder, has the internet become the new leader in mass media (or will it) with the ability to stretch from continent to continent as well as target down past niche to individual?
I’m a very social consumer. If I’m not Facestalking my friends, I’m probably on Twitter or Pinterest connecting with strangers (it’s ok, they aren’t offering me candy). This got me thinking about how different Generation Y is from even my parents. I looked a little deeper into traditional media and started to think:
How has mainstream media evolved? What are my new substitutes for television, radio, newspaper and magazines - and how do they stand up to the original?
I have Netflix, game systems to stream, DVDs of HBO content that isn’t available online, and all of these are almost completely devoid of advertisements. Yet so much marketing money is still going to a place I haven’t been in years – commercials on cable/satellite.
I take the subway almost every day, so without the ability to pull in internet radio I have compensated with my extensive iTunes library and some very targeted podcasts. My latest favourite, Fatman on Batman by Kevin Smith, is more entertaining and targeted than any radio broadcast could ever hope to be. And again, other than Kevin plugging his other podcasts that I may be interested in, here’s another large part of my media life that is now devoid of ads.
I really only read online. I think the man standing outside of my subway entrance is offering a free newspaper, but the information is outdated by the time I’ve scoured Twitter on my walk to work. If the 140-character (less with the hyperlink) headline doesn’t interest me and the Trending Topic doesn’t pull me in, then it isn’t worth my time. It may sound jaded, but I am too busy to LOOK for depressing information when I could be learning about the newest spoiler from the most recent True Blood episode. At least on Twitter brands have a chance of reaching me if they understand my user habits
Perhaps the smartest of all the evolved mediums, they’ll be able to reach me all over again once I can afford that fancy iPad. With digital interactive versions of their print editions, I’m more involved and invested in their content and advertisements than ever before. Though magazines have always done a pretty good job of attracting and understanding their audiences, this more engaging user experience and opportunity for behavioral targeting is exciting.
So here I am: a new graduate who recently entered the workforce with more disposable income than ever before and full, unmonitored access to my own credit card – essentially an advertisers dream and did I mention upcoming nuptials and moving into a new home with online registries waiting to be filled out? – and I am not reached by ANY of the traditional advertising channels. Not to mention my two younger brothers, who, aside from watching some live hockey games, are even further disconnected from traditional spaces than I am.
How else will mainstream media continue to evolve? How do you get your news? And if you're a fellow marketer, are you advertising in the right places?