MTV Tailors Creative To Changing Audience, Digital Trends

Stephen_FriedmanMTV is well-known for overhauling its programs in order to appeal to its target audience, since its previous core demo ages up. Several years ago, it found that Generation Y coveted a certain authenticity compared to their Gen X predecessors.

Reality series such as “The Hills” that seemed a bit contrived or staged wouldn’t cut it. Something more relatable was needed.

“They wanted to see themselves -- not a glamorized version, nothing manufactured,” said MTV president Stephen Friedman Tuesday at Ad Age’s Media Evolved conference.

Enter “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom” and maybe as tough at it is to believe, “Jersey Shore.”

“Those are the characters,” MTV Production Chief Chris Linn said of the hit with Snooki and JWoww. “We just follow them and what happens, happens.”



MTV has been mindful of other trends intersecting with Gen Y that MTV, such as “peer-enting,” where parents look to be friends and equals with their kids, and dating patterns where becoming “Facebook official” can be an affirmation of a relationship.

“We’re always going to follow our creative gut, but research gives us places to play in,” Linn said.

Friedman added that as MTV continues to move into new platforms, it is aware that not all outlets call for the same presentation. Tumblr is not Facebook. “You’ve got to have a different voice for every single platform,” he said.

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