I was expecting more on the ‘future of media’, but it was way more about how millennials consume media. I thought we all knew this already?
However, there were a few interesting reminders:
1. The old principles of be useful and entertaining are still completely valid. But are now executed in a completely new media environment, at speed and with the ability to be brand responsive.
2. Involve the audience. If you are going to tell a story, tell it with them. Or better still get out of the way and handover to the audience.
3. Focus on content craft. Make content that really pops. That people truly want to see and get into.
4. Mobile. Their whole world is through the lens of the mobile device. Small pixels, small screens and small content experiences.
Ok, so stuff we already knew. Right?
But the key takeout for me from the session was that it's more about a millennial media attitude and habit, rather than a generational demographic typology. That its behaviour rather than values.
This chimed with me as I am a Gen X’er that consumes media with what I would call a millennial attitude. This is something I do instinctively by habit. I don't believe I am constrained to a Gen X way of consuming media.
So how could we characterise the Millennial Media Habit and Attitude? Here's a few notes:
- it's horizontalist: the millennial media brain scans multiple feeds, channels and influencers on a range of topics and themes. They are across a lot of shit, at speed and are constantly live editing.
- it's respectful of influence: follows people who are ‘on it’ in their sphere of influence, but are not always adoring. They are willing to challenge a cultural status quo on a subject they care about.
- it's raw: the viewer wants the visceral immediacy of live coverage. They want to empathise with the news through the feeling of being there, even if it mean setting aside editorial bias.
- it has deep topic needs: it wants a comprehensive inventory of related material, experts, related articles, extra footage. Any content that can take you deeper into the story.
- it’s discovery mode is always on: the default setting is breakout of the bubble, yes checkout network shares and recommendations but be on the lookout for new sources to harvest.
- it’s unforgiving: there is an expectation of quality; its got to be good, but will occasionally engage in something ironically mediocre. But generally very little care for brands.
- it's in always now editor mode: searching for the facts, trends and cultural remixes. Its a sophisticated media mindset editing their lives as they go.
I believe this defining millennial media habit and attitude is slowly being adopted as a universal generational media filter.