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: “My aspiration is to retire early and travel!” –Male, 27, CA

They’re putting off marriage and they’re moving back in with mom and dad—and we’re not just talking about Millennials. While younger consumers are becoming “boomerang kids” at higher rates, more Gen Xers and adults at all age levels are living at home than they did 30 years ago. The share of adults who have never been married, while highest for Millennials, has also “swelled” for almost all age groups. (CityLab)

Burger King’s Peace Day partnership offer to McDonald’s was brusquely dismissed, but plenty of other burger chains are willing to play. The pop-up Peace Day shop to raise money for UNICEF will now be created with smaller brands like Denny’s, Wayback Burgers, Krystal, and Giraffas, all of whom reached out to Burger King on social media to announce their eagerness to collaborate. We think young consumers like when brandsPlay Nice with one another, so despite criticism, the campaign is hardly a failure. (AdAge)

Would you ever book a flight if you didn’t know the destination? While your answer might be a strong “NO,” several airlines are using “blind bookings” to “generate some excitement and capitalize on the spontaneity and sense of adventure among younger travelers.” The surprise destination tickets are cheaper, and some brands allow participating customers to pick their dates and interests (partying, culture, shopping, cities, etc.) before choosing their endpoint for them. (WSJ)

The 2015 SAT must have been a doozy of a test. Scores were down seven points from the previous year, their lowest since 2005 when the test was last reworked. The number of students who are considered “prepared” for college is down 16% among black students and 23% among Hispanic students. One factor in the drops is the fact that more students are taking the test than ever before, but high school math and reading skills may be an issue. (The Daily Beast)

While more brands amp up their digital efforts, experiential marketing may be more important than ever to appeal to young consumers, who are looking for unique activities they can talk about on social. Adult Swim’s pop-up drive-in theatre is certainly giving them a sharable moment. The brand is touring the country to give fans 18 and older outdoor screenings of unaired episodes, along with free food truck treats, trivia, and prizes. (Adweek)

Quote of the Day: “A major life milestone that happened this year was that I met my idol, Taylor Swift.” –Female, 22, CA

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