10 Lessons From the Year in Millennial Entertainment

The entertainment industry is a massive empire, but Millennials changed longstanding expectations this year as screens and streams multiplied. Viewers are experiencing, and influencing, the fragmentation of the media industry at large, exemplified by the 10 lessons we’ve learned this year in Millennial entertainment:  

1. You should embrace binge watching.
Today, it is pretty clear that binge viewing—technically defined as watching three or more episodes of a television show in one sitting—is here to stay. 88% of Netflix users and 70% of Hulu Plus users have participated in binge viewing, and subscribers to on-demand services that encourage the behavior are steadily increasing. The ability to watch shows whenever and wherever they might want to has altered both the TV landscape and viewer expectations of entertainment, and most obviously has forever changed the idea that all viewers will experience entertainment on a similar timeline. Uncertainties about the effects of binging are still plentiful; fears that binging is killing water-cooler talk, ending the cliff-hanger and even “killing the golden age of TV” are alive and well. But the truth is that binge viewing isn’t necessarily killing anything as much as it is shifting the way that viewers think about and talk about TV. What binging on entertainment is most certainly doing is changing consumer expectations of shows and the cultural touchpoints that they provide—and the sooner that the industry is able to understand those shifts and expectations, the sooner they will be able to play to them and endear their audiences further.
 
2. Supernatural is not over—but viewer expectations are high.
The 2013 box office struggles of YA franchises has some worrying that the trend of supernatural stories might be coming to an…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “Retail should be a facilitator for experience, rather than just selling product.”—Sharmandean Reid, Founder, Wah Nails London (YPulse)

Millennials seeking portable booze are cracking open canned wine. Even though the category still only accounts for less than 1% of the Millennial-favorite alcoholic beverages’ market, Nielsen reports it spiked 69% last year and continues to gain ground. An exec at Delicato Family Wines explains, “Millennials have grown up in a world where consuming wine outdoors—or any location outside of the traditional table—is more acceptable than generations past.” (Wine Spectator)

Summer camps are cropping up to teach kids how to become YouTubers. At I-D Tech Camps, Level Up, and Star Camps, kids can learn all about how to, as the latter puts it, “Become an Internet sensation.” They offer courses in how to create and post videos, from shooting clips to editing audio, and how to build their personal brand. But don’t worry, most are framing YouTubing as a hobby, not a career, and setting kids’ expectations accordingly. (WSJ)

A new bill could change the free-to-play profit model that’s made games like Fortnite top earners. Senators have proposed the official ban of “loot boxes,” or items that players can buy (and sometimes must buy) to win a video game, often gambling on what’s inside. Senator Ed Markey explains that “Inherently manipulative game features that take advantage of kids and turn play time into pay time should be out of bounds.” For some, this will eliminate a key revenue stream and open the door to review other in-game purchases.  (The Verge)

A social media overhaul upped Corn Nuts’ sales by 12%—with no paid support.The snack’s sales were stagnant before a new exec took over their Twitter, infusing it with the personable tone food brands have become known for (and sometimes notorious for). Since then, followers spiked from 650 to 21,000, and what they’re calling a “scrappy” strategy “absolutely translated to sales,” reporting that retail sales spiked 12% and Millennials’ repeat purchases rose the same percentage. (Marketing Dive)

The retail apocalypse continues, with 7,000 more stores closing their doors in 2019. CoStar Group estimates that the square footage of retail space closed has topped its own record each year since 2017, and this year they’re “predicting more of the same.” PayLess ShoeSource, Gymboree, Dressbarn, and Charlotte Russe lead the list of number stores planned to shutter this year, as retailers learn to scale down size and up Experiencification for young shoppers. (Business Insider

Quote of the Day: “It’s a really interesting time at the moment in catalog [music]…Sometimes, it’s a question of how we make something out of nothing.”—Tim Fraser-Harding, President, Global Catalogue, Recorded Music at Warner Music Group (Rolling Stone)

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