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…


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

Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “For Halloween I’m dressing up as Erlich Bachman from the HBO show Silicon Valley.”—Male, 24, IN

Time has released their annual list of the 30 most influential teens. This year’s cut was chosen by “global impact through social media and overall ability to drive news,” and ranges from the dancing 14-year-old made famous from Dance Moms and Sia’s latest music videos, Maddie Ziegler, to 16-year-old founder of a high-end lacrosse equipment company, Rachel Zietz, to 17-year-old poster child “in America’s culture war over LGBT rights,” Gavin Grimm. Also making the list is 17-year-old app developer Ben Pasternak, who we spoke to earlier in the year. (TIME

The Uber for orchestras is aiming to get Millennials hooked on the classics. Groupmuse is a service that hires “young classical musicians to play small concerts in living rooms across the country.” Consisting of two 25-minute sets, the combinations of music can span a wide range: “We’ve had Dvorak and then string quartet arrangements of Guns and Roses.” The founder, Sam Bodkin, blames “steep entrance cost[s] to stuffy symphony halls” and the association that classical music is “boring,” for the lack of interest in Millennials. 70% of Groupmuse’s users were born in 1980s and ‘90s, and Bodkin has plans to partner with other classical music institutions to further spread interest. (WIRED)

Millennials are abandoning ship on shows that are just too hard to watch. A new study from TiVo found that more than half of Millennials have stopped watching a show because it was too “burdensome to access — i.e. not enough episodes were available to catch up on, episodes were behind a paywall or moved platforms,” or other obstacles. 91% of Millennials have active subscriptions to at least one streaming service, and their easy access to content has turned them off to the idea of having to put in effort to watch a show, especially when they think: “There are four other shows I can go watch right now.” (Variety

A brewer is targeting young and curious drinkers with an Instagram campaign that is the first of its kind. London brewer Fuller’s has strategically placed “blank” outdoor posters that encourage the viewer to take an Instagram and use filters to find hidden messages. The #FindFlavour campaign is promoting Fuller’s Frontier craft lager, and is backed by the insight that “social beer drinking is dominating across platforms, with fans sharing experiences, love of flavour and designs.” Participants who snap and hashtag their hidden message will get the chance to win movie tickets or free beers. (Morning Advertiser

A new augmented reality game is making little entrepreneurs out of kids. Osmo Pizza Co. uses an iPad camera and a simple mirror to mimic the experience of running a pizza shop for five to 12-year-olds. Players use physical objects to create pizza orders and exchange currency, that the iPad picks up on and translates into the game. They can also use their profits to upgrade their shop and level up. The game teaches math and emotional intelligence, as well as two important aspects of startups: making the consumer happy and growing a company by reinvesting money earned. (VentureBeat

Quote of the Day: “I would want anyone that is not named Clinton or Trump to be the next president.”—Male, 23, NY

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