THE FUTURE OF YOUNG AUDIENCES

Younger generations are influenced by a diet of digital content at a very early age, fragmenting the audiences in a million different directions. Social media, online channels, video-games, mobile devices…it feels like a rat race for some of the distributors, licensees, and networks to defend their ‘real estate’ before is too late.

With the alarming shift of young people to consume mostly online content, networks are experiencing a demographic migration that might be tough to reverse. Recently a lot of buzz splashed the news about MTV struggle with the shrinking of their audience. But this is happening all across the board: Time Warner, Scripps Networks Interactive, NBCUniversal, Discovery, A+E Networks, Disney Jr. and ESPU all showed declines. The reason: many young viewers are watching programming on smartphones and tablets which are not included in the ratings, resulting in ad revenue decline. Networks are trying to reverse the trend of investing in programming and research, but the results are still in the works. Analyst agreed that Nielsen numbers aren’t the base for cable operators ad revenue, but they are indicative of trends. The question is how this will reflect on subscriber numbers in the long run.

This might sound as bad news, but depending on the perspective, this could be the glass half-full. Executives and cable providers were awakened by this decline to find new ways to make up that revenue. If played well, this shift can be view as a power-up for Cable Networks to find their Ch’i. This much needed “revival” would not only help companies to stabilize revenue but most likely could grow the linear TV business as a whole.

Children’s programming is crucial to pay-TV

Operators generally target families, becoming key drivers of on-demand offerings. Netflix is one of the largest provider of online children’s content through output agreements with DreamworksCartoon Network and movie deals with DisneyViacom moved their kid's deals to Amazon and Discovery moved its children’s content to Hulu. The cross-platform world is changing rapidly and the only way to keep up -and more important to lead- is to embrace innovation. Understanding innovation is more than tech, apps or social marketing, but as a mindset about how we approach business. It is a game-changer event.

Several companies are marching to this beat already. PBS is launching a free 24/7 multiplatform PBS KIDS on mobile devices and Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Xbox One and Chromecast. AT&T is rebranding all TV products to AT&T Entertainment, moving in the next years to a cloud DVD architecture. ABC and Marvel TV just launched “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Academy.” A digital series aimed to engage fans to compete in the show. From the first “IronMan” movie and now with “The Force Awaken”, Marvel and Disney are building audience strategies for years to come.

Even Xbox users already spend more time watching video than playing games with the device and heavyweights like NickelodeonHulu and Dailymotion are partnering to create another avenue to connect with their audiences. Disney and Saban are also investing in a viral content platform “Playbuzz” to create and distribute content into social media outlets. A few days ago E! launched a daily Facebook Live talk show expanding the social giant’s push to bring premium content to their live streaming service. Comedy Central expanded the slate of original content for instant-image messaging app SnapChat to sell advertising packages with its TV clients.

Also, the NFL and the MLB are going after young audiences, encouraging their stars to reach out to fans via Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. The focus is to motivate youngsters who are not watching football or baseball on TV (but spending hours on digital) to watch streaming matches online and mobile. NBCU made a savvy move announcing a consolidated upfront -including Telemundo- next May in NYC since networks are selling advertising across platforms and marketers are targeting interrelated audiences.

These initiatives serve both content and business. The result is a much more efficient TV content, generating deeper engagement, thus building profitable revenue streams outside traditional pay-TV universe.

Today is the multi-platform online revolution, tomorrow maybe is something else, but innovation will always be the constant. Is the ability to transform the business and identifying what plays the best. A thought from Viktor Frankl comes to my mind: “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves”.


A guide to raise entrepreneurial kids (Part 1)

To be at the top of the game, an entrepreneur requires creativity, empathy, communication skills, problem-solving ability, practical maths, and a knack for spotting something at the right moment and having the confidence to act. These key traits of entrepreneurs like presenting an idea, handle objections, or guide someone through tough decisions have their origin in the early stages of development and can be found at home or school in everyday activities. Let’s take a quick look:

1.Developing basic skills

To be at the top of the game, an entrepreneur requires creativity, empathy, communication skills, problem-solving ability, practical maths, and a knack for spotting opportunities at the right moment, and the confidence to act. These key traits of entrepreneurs have their origin in the early stages of a kid’s life and can be found at home or school in everyday activities. Although these kinds of skills -presenting ideas, handle objections, or guide someone through tough decisions- are often associated with entrepreneurs, are in fact the basic set of skills for kids that grow up ready to take on the world, ultimately steering them towards the right opportunity. Kids that develop the passion, the attitude, the skills to spot opportunities, resilience, faith, not afraid of critics and failures, are prepared to handle whatever life throws their way.

Starting at home: There are so many activities and fun things for kids to Inspire and nurture these skills. From negotiating what’s for dinner, or making decisions about planning the week, putting someone in charge of a task or a special event at home, like planning a Bday party.

Home is the first place where kids get to learn how to be in the future.

2.Home-made skills

Raising kids with an awareness of entrepreneurship and its core skills can change their life for the better. Kids don’t need to actually be running a business, employing people, or pitching ideas to investors to gain these skills. Being a kid is already a serious business for them, so learning these skills should be fun and lighthearted. Kids are already practicing these skills at home at one point or another:  pitching, negotiating, decision making, leadership, customer service, and creative thinking. 

Practical examples: there are so many activities and fun things for kids to Inspire and nurture these skills. From negotiating what’s for dinner, or making decisions about planning the week, putting someone in charge of a task or a special event at home, like planning a Bday party. Challenges can be really fun and character-building.

Encouraging healthy debate about ways to help people or coming up with ideas to solve a problem so they can create their own framework for decision-making.  Simple ideas that are fun, entrepreneurial and valuable. The earlier someone learns these skills the more second nature they will be in the future.

3. Opportunities are everywhere

Finding entrepreneurial opportunities involves playing and observing real-life situations. Allowing kids to experience and interact with real-life entrepreneurial scenarios will open their eyes to the possibilities. Not only in opportunities but also different people with different skills. Being open to opportunities means seeing the possibility and abundance of options and results, incorporating the notion that opportunities are everywhere, they just have to be found like a treasure hunt.

Great entrepreneurs look at problems and see solutions and disruption it’s only a chance to add value. They constantly think of new ideas for products, services and new businesses. Their brains become trained to seek out opportunities, working their idea muscles every day until eventually, success becomes real. Inspiring kids into an opportunity-seeing mindset involves thinking in that way yourself. 

Foster questions that make kids think and observe their own paths and actions, opening playfully to the idea of “Why not” or “What if” Bring entrepreneurial opportunities closer by talking about their everyday activities and connect them to businesses or professions around them. Ask how they do, and how they do it, and which problems they encounter. Understanding the needs of the businesses all around you helps kids to become aware of possibilities, sparking ideas they could get involved in.

Practical example: observe situations around your home, neighborhood, or even current events that present a problem and need a solution, and bring up what could be done to solve the problem and “how could you be part of the solution, and what could you do about that?” Things like organizing the attic or organize a garage sale, or transforming a room into a ‘painting studio’ or maybe learning about things that might stir interest or relatable to kids like the technology behind video communications, healthcare professionals, or the different disciplines behind making videogames or a cartoon show. Kids will be fascinated.

Situations that need a solution at home or in the neighborhood and bring up what could be done to solve the problem and “how could you be part of the solution.