Thursday, July 31, 2008

Viacom's Drop-out Rate

Wired.com shoots us the indelicately titled "How American Youth Will Screw Viacom" describing Viacom's lackluster sales growth in the Second Quarter.

After I dried my tears, I read on. What got me most was this:
The fundamental problem could be that the "youth demo" that Viacom has hotly chased after for the last couple decades is a bust. Teens and twenty-somethings don't watch TV anymore; they don't read newspapers; and they're technologically promiscuous -- how can big media sell advertising against them if you can't corner them in front of any single device?

Welcome to the classroom, Viacom. The parallels extend beyond the classroom. It might just be me, but each time I speak to a group of teachers, formally or informally, about new tools and tactics for the classroom, I invariably get the same question, "But, which one should I use?" It's the silver bullet question, and I hate it. It's the question that tells me either they weren't listening or I didn't strongly enough make the the case that it's about a paradigm shift.
Undoubtedly, Viacom execs are confounded as to which tool they should use to bring their audience back. Of course, one tool won't do it. If I may make a hyperbolic metaphor, their target demo is out of the cave.
The dancing shadows of I Love Money and Real World/Road Rules Challenge MMMCVI just don't hold the same magic.
The same is to be said of the classroom, though it could be argued textbooks never held quite as much magic.
It's not just networks; now Viacom's gotta compete with the world.

1 comment:

Louise Maine said...

Nice post - I don't feel sorry for them.

I like to watch TV, but not much on, short seasons...

My kids really don't care what is on.

I am doing training this week, and they are being hit with a lot of tools, and there is the same questions: Which should we use? How do you get others to see the shift?