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: “The most important part of prom is the honor of being asked by an upperclassmen.”—Male, 15, NY

What does Clearasil know about teens? According to them, nothing. The teen-focused anti-acne brand is fessing up to being mystified by their target market in a series of comical ads with the tagline "We know your acne. We just don't know you." Expressing how their employees, or “the lame old people,” are “pathetically out of touch with youth culture,” a voiceover asks teens if they like pizza, skateboarding, cool cars, ripped jeans etc. The campaign was inspired when the brand posted memes that only made them look “out-of-touch.” They hope the ads will be “refreshing” to the generation that is “tired of brands pretending to know them.” (Adweek

We’ve noted that VR has the potential to impact many industries beyond gaming, and now eBay used the tech to launch the world’s first virtual reality department store. In partnership with Australian retailer Myer, they’ve created a virtual store app that allows users to browse and buy Myer products in a virtual space. Shoppers can hold their gaze at an item to choose it for their cart, while an algorithm tracks activity to adapt and display items that might be of interest to users. (Mashable

Millennials are embracing wines more than ever, and they aren’t “drinking their parent’s wine.” Twenty and thirtysomethings accounted for 42% of wine consumed in the U.S. last year. This new generation of drinkers is looking for “authenticity,” and to “discover new wines.” They use apps to learn more about their options, and are reportedly sharing their wine interest online: 50% of Millennials who drink wine talk about it on Facebook, and 30% share on other platforms. They’re not picky about their wine preferences, and are open to drinking red or white, and lately rosé, the market for which is rising 13% a year. (Forbes

Wattpad is proving that Millennials and teens “still crave longform content.” The story-sharing site reports that 45 million 13-34-year-olds spend 15 billion minutes on their platform reading and writing stories. According to the Wattpad, Millennials will read longform stories, as long as it’s mobile, interactive, and relatable. They experience 300,000 uploads daily and claim that users spend about 30 minutes on the site on average. Brands like Coca-Cola, GE, and Target have taken notice, creating sponsored reading lists, paying Wattpad’s top writers for content, and hosting writing contests. AT&T’s Hello Lab has YouTube influencer Grace Helbig co-writing a novel with her fans on the site. (Digiday

Long gone are the days of Game Boys. A recent study revealed that portable game consoles have fallen in popularity as kids get smartphones at a much younger ages than the generations before them. Today, the average age to get a first smartphone is 10.3 years old, and more than six out of ten kids also have access to the internet via laptop or tablet. The smartphone effect has pushed consoles to fourth place In popularity, behind tablets, phones, and DVDs. Nintendo has taken notice and made the smart move to join the mobile gaming space. (UbergizmoGamasutra

Quote of the Day: “A prom trend I’ve noticed is lots of cheesy cute ways of asking. Often involving food or a game/sport.”—Female, 16, WY

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