This post was originally published on edelman.com.
For television networks, trying to attract a Millennial audience is not a surprising move. The Millennial generation, defined as those between the ages of 18 and 33, is now the largest on the planet. But launching new TV channels to reach them may seem counter-intuitive. Some studies say that television is a dying medium as habits shift to newer forms of entertainment, such as social media or YouTube. But the fact is that Millennials are still watching television in great numbers. According to Pew Research, nearly six in 10 Millennials watch at least one hour of television every day. The real shift is HOW they consume television. A 2013 eMarketer study found that 106 million Americans, or one in three Americans, watched TV online. That number is expected to grow to 145 million in the next four years and the trend is led by those ages 18-34. In 2010 a survey of college freshman found 87 percent said they prefer watching TV and movies online rather than subscribing to a cable or satellite dish service. Some television networks realize this shift and are evolving to better engage them.
This Fall, two new television channels will launch that target the Millennial generation. The first new channel, called Pivot, will feature “entertainment that inspires social change” and will include a broad range of shows from comedies to documentaries. Pivot also acquired the highly acclaimed series “Friday Night Lights.” The second new TV channel is called FXX, and is a spin-off from the FX network. The FXX channel will include a mix of re-runs, including shows like “Parks and Recreation,” and also include new original content, focusing on comedies, including “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” which will move over from the FX channel.
What both new channels have in common is that they are built in a way that acknowledges how Millennials want to view television – online and on-the-go. Both channels will features their shows as a traditional television channel, but their focus will be on content viewable online and offering an app that allows for live-stream or on-demand content via smartphones and tablets.
These two channels are reacting to a new reality in entertainment. Passive television viewing is a thing of the past for the newer generations. Millennials want to view their favorite shows on their mobile devices, and they are using several types of media at the same time to interact with the content they view. The challenge for marketers today is to create content they want to view, but equally important is to make it viewable in the right places and to make it interactive. These two new TV channels represent what most television will look like in the not-too-distant future.