What’s Happening to TV Mirrors What’s Happening in Culture

photo credit: William Hook via photo pin cc

The latest numbers are in. They probably won’t shock you. 65% of 16-24 year olds polled listed talking to their friends via Facebook and Twitter topped watching TV. 33% of the group spend more than three hours a day networking on-line, more than the hours they spend watching television. TV networks are aware of this trend and working hard to determine what steps to take to retain an audience. Personally, I believe what’s happening to TV mirrors what’s happening in our culture. It’s a great picture of the trends that we should pay attention to as we program for youth. Here are four trends that should inform our plans to serve students:

1. TV is becoming more customized.

We all see this as we view the menu or the TV Guide. Major networks have now spun off specialized channels for sports, even specific sports like golf, or cooking, football or alternative music. This is a picture for us as we plan programs. Do your students feel as if you are customizing the events or courses for their specific needs? Right or wrong, they’ve come to expect this.

2. TV is becoming more real.

In fact, we now use this term to describe the fastest growing type of TV show today: Reality TV. Competitions on an island, on a stage, in a kitchen, on a dance floor now define where television is going. It “feels” less scripted (although you and I both know it still is) and more authentic. So, here’s my question: does your programming feel more organic and genuine; less scripted and mechanical.

3. TV is becoming more interactive.

These days, kids can hardly watch a reality TV show without voting on who stays on the show next week. Like a video game or their social media outlets, TV has come to welcome viewers to participate. They have to. The on-line show, The Million Pound Drop, has generated 11 million plays since launching in 2010. We must remember, there is a way to reach a goal and still give students a “say” in the process.

4. TV is becoming more diversified.

Think about the current shows on TV this past season. More and more, you see programs for the young, and then the old. Not as much in the middle. Networks are not only targeting an audience, they are targeting the largest audiences: Boomers and Generation Y. Why? That’s where the money is. Nearly a third of those aged 55 or older are logging onto social media sites before watching TV. My question for you: are you putting your ideas into the largest demographics who follow?

Let me know the trends you spot in our culture and how it informs us as leaders of the next generation?

What’s Happening to TV Mirrors What's Happening in Culture