The first digital generation is slowly taking over the entertainment landscape. Millennials are the first generation of digital natives. As such, it is no wonder that they turn to the Internet for their entertainment, rather than traditional media like the older generations. This has left media companies baffled and facing massive market share losses. They are facing a simple choice, adapt or become extinct like Blockbuster. Unfortunately for them, executing the change is far from simple. Changing the mindset that has ruled media for decades may prove impossible for some. Others who manage to adapt to the changes will surely prosper.
Popularity of YouTube
The Millennials are the first generation that largely relies on YouTube for its video content. This has led various networks and even talent agencies to hire YouTubers to produce their TV shows. They hope that this approach will attract Millennials to their programs. New commercial deals had to be invented to support these arrangements. YouTube noticed this and wanted a piece of the cake as well. They launched YouTube Red, a new platform for commissioning work from authors. This is a huge change from their usual business model. It demonstrates just how profound influence Millennials have on online media.
Increased iGaming Popularity
Lately, we have been witnessed a surge in iGaming popularity. One of the reasons for it is that more and more Millennials are visiting gambling sites. Some of the traits used to describe this generation seem to be going hand to hand with iGaming. The Millennials’ typical short attention span and the need for instant gratification meshes perfectly with the new and exciting slot games featured in modern casinos. Some of these are based on skill, rather than luck or random number generator. This approach is far more appealing to the generation that grew up with gaming, especially compared to relying on Lady Luck for the winnings.
Increase in Streaming Services
Massive losses in the spring of 2016 have forced the biggest media companies to frantically develop their own streaming services. After losing more than $45 billion in just six weeks, CBS, Viacom, Discovery, 21st Century Fox, and Walt Disney decided that enough is enough and invested heavily in their own streaming platforms. The losses were caused by Millennials cutting cords and canceling their cable subscriptions. They see it as a waste of money since they look to the Internet for their entertainment and cable TV just doesn’t have the same appeal for them as it does for older generations.
New Topics in Online Entertainment
Matthew Schulman is a famous plastic surgeon. His Snapchat account has over a million views daily, most of them from viewers aged 18 to 32. A part of them are trying to get a better feel into what to expect when they undergo their own procedures, but a vast majority are watching his videos for entertainment value only. This demonstrates how topics previously unimaginable are finding their way into mainstream entertainment and become a norm. Suggesting that plastic surgery would be a source of entertainment just 10 years ago would have earned you plenty of weird looks and some laughs. Today, it is a perfectly normal occurrence.
A study performed at Stanford University proved that people who watched an interactive video about deforestation cared more about the environment and paper consumption compared to the people who watched an ordinary film. It is a perfect example of how new media surpasses the old one in delivering a message. The Millennials seem especially susceptible to this enhanced videos, so expect to see more of them in the future.
Podcasts are absolutely peaking and that is thanks to the Millennials. Just in the last year, there was a 60% increase in podcast apps installed. People ages 25 to 34 were the main driving force behind this surge. About one-third of them listens to at least podcasts per week. About half of the people listen to podcasts on their commute. The main topics are comedy, educational, and history. This has led big companies to invest heavily in the podcast industry. Spotify plans to spend $500 million on acquisitions just this year. Entercom Communications Corp just bought a renowned podcast producer from Brooklyn, Pineapple Street Media, for $18 million. This may also affect the podcast business model. So far, they relied on adds for income. Spotify may change that, as the company plans to introduce subscription as the main source of income. We will see how does that affect the podcast popularity. Millennials and Generation Z represent a large chunk of potential marketing dollars, so all these trends will only grow in the future. Entertainment companies are already positioning themselves to maximize their earnings from these two generations. The online entertainment landscape will change dramatically in the next decade, as focus shifts from traditional media.