Why Catfish Matters

Season two of MTV docu-series Catfish: The TV Show debuted to 2.5 million viewers, and was the number one cable telecast of the day among viewers ages 12-34, a demo otherwise known as Millennials. The show is a hit, and signifies larger shifts in reality TV tastes and their entertainment desires. Here are some of the reasons that Catfish matters, and what it says about Millennial viewers.

 It puts the real back into reality.

It might seem ironic that realness is so big a part of a show about people who are on TV for telling lies, but one reason that Catfish matters is that it is telling the truth about real lives of real people. We talk a lot about authenticity and Millennials’ desire to know all the facts and be told the truth. Though reality TV has a genre name that implies it is all real all the time, Millennial viewers have gotten used to the fact that reality shows are staged, and that “unscripted” programs most likely have a staff of writers working behind the scenes. Catfish shows a shift in the genre, and a re-emphasis on the showcasing of real lives, real emotions, and real moments. If it ever came out that elements of Catfish were faked, there is a good chance that it would seriously damage or even end the show. Actual reality in this case is a vital part of what makes the show successful. Millennials want real, and Catfish serves it up in a way that few shows aimed at them in the past have done.

 It is anti-aspiration.

There are no makeovers here, and most likely not even a happy ending for the young people who participate. Watching Catfish is not about wanting what you see. When hosts Nev and Max pull up to the house of the catfish, they are usually visiting humble places, in small towns. The young people on the show are often unhappy with where they are and who…

 
 
Ask Millennials some questions.
Log in to get started...

Want to talk to us about the article
or dive into a custom study?


Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “The best part about driving is the control of when, how, and where you go. The worst part is that there is a lot of responsibility in your hands, especially if you are with your family.” -Female, 32, TX

We’ve told you before that Millennials are turning to new tools that let them harness their own data for their own personal benefit and enjoyment. The new app Pplkpr (pronounced “people keeper”) does just that, using a combination of tracked body metrics and self-reporting to determine which friends make users happy, and which have a negative impact on them. Using a Bluetooth heart rate monitor, the app measures physical response while one is hanging out with friends, learning over time which friends create anxiety, boredom, excitement, and concluding whether or not a friend is toxic. The app’s creators say Pplkpr was created partly as a criticism for the decisions we allow data to make for us, but there is clearly some interest around the idea. (Huffington PostMashable)

Gaming is becoming more and more mobile as major consoles “unplug” from TV. Microsoft has announced that Xbox One players can enjoy gameplay on any Widows 10 device, including tablets and PCs. The announcement “completes the trifecta” of consoles that have taken steps to include off-TV play. Yes, TV screens are biggest, but TV's communal nature is not necessarily appealing to gamers when many games are solitary pursuits. “We’re gravitating towards the personal” and TVs immobility can make it less convenient—in both gaming and entertainment streaming. (Wired

Meet Elena, Disney’s first ever Latina princess. Elena will have her own show on Disney Junior set to air in 2016, and is inspired by "diverse Latin cultures and folklore." Disney announced that a Latina heroine was in the works after some confusion and criticism arose over the ethnicity of the (now extremely popular) character Sofia the First. Though Elena’s premiere is some time off, it is clear that many communities are happy to see Disney embracing diversity in their characters and shows. (BuzzFeed)

YouTube celebrities are getting more than deals for their own web series, TV shows, and movies: the trend of YouTube authors is growing. Although some have questioned the vloggers’ capabilities as writers, recent books published by YouTube stars have seen unexpected successes. Grace’s Heibig’s Grace’s Guide: The Art of Pretending to be a Grown-Upeven became a New York Times bestseller. It was just announced that four top YouTubers will even host their own session at BookCon, the largest literary event for authors, publishers, and readers. Justine Ezarik, Shane Dawson, Connor Franta and Joey Graceffa will speak about their new literary efforts with Keywords Press, an Atria Books imprint specially created for online video stars and their fans. (StreamDaily)

Reebok is leaving out celebrity athletes and making everyday young fitness enthusiasts the stars of their new marketing campaign, “Become More Human,” which focuses on the “new brand of athlete.” The first spot features footage of normal people pushing themselves physically, and includes shots of extreme races that Millennials have embraced. The campaign goes beyond commercials with a #BreakYourSelfie Instagram initiative and the “Be More Human Experience,” an interactive website that helps users to compare their physical traits against other members. (The Drum)

Infographics make even complex data easy to understand and quick to digest. Our Gold and Silver subscribers are given access to our regularly published informative Infographic Snapshots: data visualizations that take our proprietary bi-weekly survey stats and synthesize them to tell a story about this generation’s behaviors and views. From political stances to social media use to spending, we illustrate how many, how much, and how often, making sure you know exactly where your Millennial target audience stands.
(Ypulse)

Sign Up Now

Subscribe for premium access to our content, data, and tools.

Already a subscriber? Sign in.

Upgrade Now

Upgrade for full access to the best marketing tools for understanding the next generation.

View our Client Case Studies