Why Catfish Matters

Season two of MTV docu-series Catfish: The TV Show debuted to 2.5 million viewers, and was the number one cable telecast of the day among viewers ages 12-34, a demo otherwise known as Millennials. The show is a hit, and signifies larger shifts in reality TV tastes and their entertainment desires. Here are some of the reasons that Catfish matters, and what it says about Millennial viewers.

 It puts the real back into reality.

It might seem ironic that realness is so big a part of a show about people who are on TV for telling lies, but one reason that Catfish matters is that it is telling the truth about real lives of real people. We talk a lot about authenticity and Millennials’ desire to know all the facts and be told the truth. Though reality TV has a genre name that implies it is all real all the time, Millennial viewers have gotten used to the fact that reality shows are staged, and that “unscripted” programs most likely have a staff of writers working behind the scenes. Catfish shows a shift in the genre, and a re-emphasis on the showcasing of real lives, real emotions, and real moments. If it ever came out that elements of Catfish were faked, there is a good chance that it would seriously damage or even end the show. Actual reality in this case is a vital part of what makes the show successful. Millennials want real, and Catfish serves it up in a way that few shows aimed at them in the past have done.

 It is anti-aspiration.

There are no makeovers here, and most likely not even a happy ending for the young people who participate. Watching Catfish is not about wanting what you see. When hosts Nev and Max pull up to the house of the catfish, they are usually visiting humble places, in small towns. The young people on the show are often unhappy with where they are and who…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “I like shopping at Staples because they have good prices on supplies I need for school [and] electronics or other devices I may need.” –Female, 17, ID

For urban Millennials, getting married doesn’t necessarily mean saying goodbye to roommates. Members of the generation continue to mature into adulthood in an untraditional way, and with rent increasing dramatically, some are choosing living as husband and wife and roomie over a moving to smaller place, or having a longer commute. This acceptance of communal living could be a reflection of the rise of the sharing economy, as it becomes the norm to share everything from rides to the kitchen. (New York Times)

Although most of today’s 18-24-year-olds were still in high school or college during the Great Recession, it’s still affecting their career choices today. A survey from Way to Work found that 70% would prefer a stable job over a job they were passionate about but offered little security, and one third said finding that secure job was their top concern. 34% of Millennials named financial stability as their greatest aspiration. (Forbes)

According to some teens, “MTV is dying.” Hoping to reverse that sentiment, MTV will be introducing eight new series, and has 85 more in development, that are meant to reflect Millennials’ “unbridled optimism.” Upcoming series include a reality show about YouTube star Todrick Hall and a scripted comedy around Vine star Logan Paul—MTV likely has their fingers crossed these social media stars will bring their fans to the network. (Adweek)

YouTube channel AwesomenessTV has successfully hooked hundreds of thousands of young viewers, and now they’re setting their sights on a new audience: Millennial moms. Their new network Awestruck will premiere later this year, offering a wide range of female-centric series, from comedy to drama to talk shows featuring both online stars and Hollywood celebrities. The network hopes that young moms will turn to them as they consume more online video content. (StreamDaily)

What does it take to become “Insta-famous?” Sometimes it just takes being photographed in the right place at the right time. Sixteen-year-old Charlotte D’Alessio amassed tens of thousands of followers in just a few days when a photo of her and her best friend, model Josie Canseco, went viral at Coachella. From there Canseco and D’Alessio appeared on celebrities’ feeds, the Coachella account, and new fans’ Tumblr posts. The girls’ viral status speaks to how quickly notoriety can amass for young consumers in the age or micro-fame. (BuzzFeed)

Want to know Millennials' favorite fast food chain? How often they're dining out? What they order? Our most recent topline and date on 13-32-year-olds gave Gold subscribers the inside scoop on all their food and dining preferences. We deliver in-depth tables and a visual report to them every two weeks, covering another aspect of young consumers' behaviors, beliefs, and more. (Ypulse)

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