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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Quote of the Day: “It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without my cousins' annoying kids running in front of the TV.” –Male, 30, MA

Watch your back Instagram. Flipagram’s rise, and its partnership with music labels, could make it the next big sharing platform to watch. The app reached 30 million monthly users after one year, hitting the milestone faster than Facebook and Snapchat before it. Because music can be added to the 30-second photo videos users make, it has set itself apart from competitors Vine and Instagram, and the number of flips made on the platform rose 165% in the last year. (Forbes)

The final film of The Hunger Games franchise is in theatres, ending a wildly successful run at the box office. The movies weren’t considered a sure thing, but became a “runaway smash” because they perfectly matched Millennials’ mindset, becoming “an all-purpose metaphor for life as a young person in the post-recession era.” The theory is that because books debuted just as the recession was beginning, the dark tone and cutthroat storyline aligned with their experiences. (We happen to agree.) (Vox

Millennials continue to think more positively about technology than other generations. According to a 2015 poll, Millennials are more likely than Xers and Boomers to think tech helps them to learn new skills, has a positive impact on their relationships with friends, and allows them to live life the way they want. More than half of Millennials believe that technology positively effects their happiness, compared to 42% of Xers, and 30% of Boomers. (MediaPost)

Millennials might be less traditionally religious than older generations, but they are just as spiritual. While fewer Millennials say religion is very important, attend weekly religious services, or pray every day than Xers, Boomers, and Silents, they are equally likely to think about the meaning and purpose of life, and feel a sense of gratitude or thankfulness each week. (Pew Research)

Advertisements on YouTube Kids are getting the app into some trouble. Ads for junk food regularly appear on the platform “in the form of funny contests and animated stories,” and two complaints have been filed calling for an investigation of food marketers, videos programmers, and Google. The complaints argue that food companies have not lived up to their promises to keep junk food marketing off the app. (NYTimes)

Quote of the Day: "It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without my brother suggesting we don't celebrate and just order pizza.” -Male, 15, GA

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