TV yesterday today tomorrow

The "Boomers" were born between 1945 and 1960. Generation X" was born between 1961 and 1981, and "Millennials" were born between 1982 and 2012. Bastian Sarott is one of them. The expert moderated a well-attended seminar at Goldbach on the subject of "Young People and Television. The Viacom study "Knowing Youth 2020 Vision" was also presented. 

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Bastian Sarott is Head of Trade Marketing MTV/VIVA CH/Comedy Central at Goldbach Media and thus an expert in youth marketing. The federally certified marketing specialist studied art history, film studies and business administration at the University of Zurich, as well as CAS Leadership & Management at the HWZ.
 
WW: In what way is Goldbach Media involved in the studies presented at the "Identify Youth" seminar?
Bastian Sarott: The studies were commissioned and carried out by Viacom - after all, they are international studies that require cross-border networking. Goldbach was involved in collecting the Swiss figures and thus contributed the necessary Swissness to the questionnaire for the 308 participants. And last but not least, we are involved as marketers of the stations involved and as organizers of the business seminar mentioned.
 
Is there a finding for you from the studies presented that surprised you personally as a member of the Millennials?
None of the findings really surprised me - but I often felt confirmed in my assumptions. However, I also deal with the subject matter on a daily basis and have been observing trends and characteristics of my generation for a long time. What surprised me most was how clearly the statements in the qualitative interviews differed depending on the country of origin, or rather how easy it seems to be to assign certain statements to a particular country by implication.
 
In Switzerland, 27 percent of the population is already in the Millennial age range. How strongly is this ratio reflected in the TV programs available?
Only to a limited extent, because the average TV viewer is around 51 years old and has corresponding purchasing power. The Millennial TV consumer, on the other hand, is 22 years old on average, has somewhat less time to watch TV, and is usually not quite as affluent as his parents' generation. Consequently, channels are still geared toward older consumers, who make up the broader audience. But there are, of course, channels like MTV, VIVA CH or even JOIZ, which, as special-interest channels, are aimed mainly at this target group. ProSieben also offers formats tailored specifically to millennials: In "taff" or "Galileo," for example, news and science topics are presented as young as possible: Fast editing, current music and the whole thing presented by young presenters.
 
What specific shows can you tell us about that are aimed at Millennials?
There are a few. For example, "Catfish" from MTV Networks. A format that deals with the phenomenon of fake online profiles - the so-called catfish phenomenon. It's not just about friendships that have developed online between fictitious and real people, it goes as far as engagements between two people who have never seen each other in real life. In other words, a topic that is as young as the Millennials themselves. In "Catfish," viewers accompany the show's hosts on their search for the catfish and the subsequent reunion of the two cyberfriends - unfortunately, usually with a disappointing result for one of the two parties. Or take "Circus HalliGalli" on ProSieben. Here, the congenial hosting duo Joko and Klaas exclusively do whatever they feel like doing at the time. There is no limit to the absurdity. Conceptless quality television with a guaranteed surprise effect and lots of laughing potential. But series like "South Park" are also very popular with millennials, thanks to their mix of extreme topicality, critical scrutiny, the necessary dose of outrageousness, and high moral standards. The 17th season is currently running on Comedy Central Switzerland. This March, a "South Park" app was launched that allows all episodes to be watched in two-channel sound anytime, anywhere - and in April, just one month later, we were already at over 500,000 streams in Switzerland!
 
How does a broadcaster ensure that its engagement with millennials actually comes across as genuine and not simply gimmicky, like the "youth language" still often misused in advertising?
With the use of so-called "youth language", the sender usually maneuvers himself into the sidelines. On the one hand, a broadcaster must have real millennials in the editorial teams, but it must also deal with topics that are relevant to the young target group. Millennials are very demanding and expose the pretense of youthfulness.
 
Do you know of any successful examples where advertising - in this case, a commercial - skillfully and successfully appeals to the world of Millennials?
There are various great examples: Coke Zero, AXE, and the new Evian spot have the right attributes - imaginative spots with good music that are enriched with a bit of action, encourage laughter, and know how to surprise. Such spots spread like wildfire; the Millennial likes to share what he likes on Facebook or by e-mail - even TV spots.
 
What definitely doesn't work in "advertising to Millennials"?
Poorly implemented product placement is what I see as the biggest no-go these days. Be it in video clips, TV series or feature films: nowhere do we get around product placement. But if it's done too obviously, it backfires. MTV, for example, no longer plays various video clips on the channel because of the artists' too obvious and permanent use of smartphones.
 
How much demand do customers have for booking options for the Millennial target group?
In TV, planning is still based on socio-demographic target groups, and the proportion of advertising aimed at people under 40 is only around 10 percent. However, this does not include the most important target groups (15-49 years old and household 20-49). Since the Millennial switches between many platforms or consumes them in parallel, advertising via a single medium is not effective. Online and also OTG(on the ground) activities are now essential and increase the involvement of the recipient. Involvement is a key word for the engaged, informed and sharing Millennials. Basically, however, young target groups are less sought after than household executives or executive target groups.
 
What are Goldbach's future plans for the Millennial target group?
Goldbach always adapts its offering to the latest technical developments and thus also keeps its finger on the pulse of the young target group. This means that we address topics such as parallel use, streaming, smart TV and social media across all business lines. We accompany the recipient from the moment they get up until they go to bed: with radio, mobile, digital out of home, online and TV advertising. This gives us diverse touchpoints with all Swiss residents. What is crucial here is the right orchestration of these media. To this end, Goldbach launches new offers every year in order to also reach the young target group with its individual habits.
 
In one presentation, the thesis was put forward: "Sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll" used to be. What could serve as the "substitute drug" for Millennials today?
Today, everyone lives their lives - there are too many styles of music, more caution and knowledge about sex, and an even wider range of drugs. Tolerance towards these three buzzwords has increased massively in the last 50 years. What was scandalous then seems completely banal today. If I had to come up with a new thesis, I guess it would be, "Live YOUR life." That may sound a bit self-censored - it possibly is, but it merely broadens the spectrum and puts the Millennials' urge for self-actualization and more extensive possibilities in the center.
 
In another presentation, the thesis was presented that abroad, young people are more concerned with existential worries, while in Switzerland we are allowed to worry more about our self-realization. Do you share this view?
I agree with that. But this is also due to the countries in which this study was conducted - a 17-year-old girl from Mexico or Tokyo does not have the same expectations, desires and fears as a young Swiss woman due to the environment and economic conditions.
 
In my youth as a "boomer," advertising was frowned upon in many progressive circles. Working in advertising was considered almost like a betrayal for Phil. I and art students. How do you experience it today as a member of the Millennials?
Yes, I am a Millennial. Yes, I am a marketer. BUT I was also a Phil. I student - with art history, among other things. And I get the point, of course. But many of the Boomers felt they had to do it differently, which doesn't mean not doing it. That is, progressive people are generally open to advertising - but good and properly placed advertising. They know exactly what they want, which makes them more critical and selective. And they love the creative approach of this industry, which, incidentally, also inspired artists like Salvador Dalí to create product advertising (Chupa Chups). And here, in dealing with artistic creation, the circle from the Boomer to the Millennial perhaps closes, even if the prerequisites are very different and today, thanks to Web 2.0 and the abundance of recording and duplication utensils, everyone can let off steam creatively and share creativity with the environment.
 
Interview: Andreas Panzeri 

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