MTV At 30: Still Pushing Boundaries And Pioneering New Forms Of Media

I Want My MTVMTV turned 30 on Monday, but the network seemed to be the only one not interested in celebrating its major milestone.

Let’s face it, turning the big 3-0 is pretty much the end of youth, but there is no other TV network as synonymous with youth culture as MTV. It’s an institution that has remained relevant to fickle teens and college students for three decades. I can’t think of another that has, year in and year out, maintained that position…except maybe jeans and t-shirts.

MTV has always pushed the boundaries of what is acceptable, sometimes failing, but often spawning major trends: animation for 20-somethings (Liquid Television was a precursor to Adult Swim), reality TV (‘nuf said), news for young people (even Jon Stewart rose to fame on the network)...the list goes on and on.

There are those who lament that the network isn’t what it was 30 years ago, but, frankly, it shouldn’t be what it was then because young people today aren’t the same as young people decades ago. The changing media landscape forced MTV to “evolve and figure out” its new role.

That means, in part, that MTV doesn’t show many music videos any more (though its sister networks do) because times have changed. There are more than enough ways for people to find music videos, as Kurt Loder points out, and MTV specializes in giving viewers what they can’t get anywhere else.

These days, that includes a mix of reality programming and a revival of some old hits. For the nostalgic viewers, the network is bringing back “Beavis and Butthead,” which has the potential to be just as relevant today as it was back in the 90s because the show comes with a new twist. Instead of commenting on videos, the pair makes fun of everything on the network, from music to reality shows. Their sardonic wit is a perfect…

 
 

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“Crochet and knitting are very relaxing, therapeutic, and have tangible results."—Female, 31, AL

The CW is betting on competitive video gaming being “a perfect match” for their audience. The network now known for popular dramas like Riverdale and Arrow is airing EA Madden NFL 18 Challenge, a “‘Survivor’-style” show where esports celebrities face off each week. The esports special featuring “the biggest and most popular” game was planned after they learned that CW viewers who watch their superhero shows also over index on esports. The show will be live-streamed and then broadcast to the network. (Variety)

Applebee’s has been getting boozy to appeal to Millennial customers—but is it working? Kind of. Their “Dollaritas” and $1 Long Island ice teas (L.I.T.s) are bringing in business; at some locations, lines have reportedly formed out the door and “four keg-sized batches” of L.I.T. are mixed up daily. Applebee’s hopes the promotion will remind young consumers that they’re more than just a chain restaurant—they’re also a bar. But it’s hard to say if the drink specials will solve their Millennial problem in the long-term. (Eater)

2017 has been independent beauty brands’ year, thanks to social media. Cult favorites like Glossier and Colourpop have seen their category’s sales surge 43%, according to the NPD Group, propelled by unboxing videos, influencer collaborations, and Instagrammable products. One editor made the point that “Social media is a hotbed of free consumer research,” which could be why 2017 has seen inclusive brands like Fenty Beauty go viral, and gender genreless makeup lines like Milk Makeup’s “Blur the Line” take off. (Glossy)

More big retailer brands are getting into the subscription box service game, eyeing Stitch Fix’s success. ThredUp, the digital consignment store that focuses on luxury resale, has introduced a new “Goody Box” to package up items each month for customers. Meanwhile, Baby Gap began their “Outfit Box” program in October, offering curated kids clothes sent to Millennial parents. The “experimental effort” has reportedly had high retention rates, prompting the brand to start Superbox, a similar service for Old Navy. (DigiDay)

Pinterest reports that Millennials are looking to their platform for style, food, and home décor inspiration. Half of Millennials use Pinterest at least on a monthly basis, according to comScore, and Pinterest’s new research found that 63% say they “discover new brands or products to buy” on the platform. Ypulse data shows Millennials are looking to social media for fashion inspiration and this study concurs: Pinners were 11% more likely to spend more on style than non-Pinners and 6% more likely to spend more on home décor. (Pinterest)

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