The constant barrage of information telling brands how they have to reinvent themselves to be relevant to millennials can be a little predictable and usually comes from the very people who have the know-how or tools they claim can turn that company around. I'm never too convinced that each generation is so very different but rather has different tools made available to it to go about the timeless human pursuits of seeking out money, entertainment, friendship and love.
So it was interesting to see that nearly two in three millennials told Sean Combs' cable tv company recently that they actually like watching linear television on a traditional set. It flies in the face of the countless "tv is dying" presentations we've all had to sit through and that we just don't get millennials so need to hire a young, trendy marketing agency to show us where we're all going wrong. I have to express an interest here, or at least a pre-determined view. As much as I admire young, excited marketers, I do sometimes suspect they are a little more surprised that they should be when they find out there is more to marketing than taking your client's assets and posting them on Facebook and concluding something will happen because a few people clicked "like."
As far as linear tv goes, there is actually a very strong argument for millennials to watch the big shows live. Social media will be filled with spoilers as will conversations around the water cooler at work or college. It goes without saying that Generation Y (the parents) are more likely to have control over the main set in any house and so it's likely that millennials may have to record or stream their show to another device. Those who are old enough to rent their own place are also likely to be sharing, where there is no assumed control over the main set. So streaming on a laptop isn't necessarily through choice. This isn't a rejection of traditional television but a supplement. What would you rather do -- watch "Game of Thrones" on an iPad in your room or on a 42" HD super fabulous main screen downstairs?
Thinkbox in the UK is an industry group promoting the fact that tv is indeed alive and kicking and constantly finds that more than 90% of tv viewing happens on a television because even if shows are not watched live, they are recorded or streamed to the traditional front-room set. At the same, the vast majority of tv watching is live, regardless of what conference speakers will tell you about the medium being dead.
So, it's refreshing to see some research that shows that, of course, millennials are just like their Gen Y parents and want to see the big event or the unmissable show live on the best tv set in the house. When that's not possible it doesn't mean there's a revolution happening that will shake marketing to the foundations but more likely mum's soap or their flat mate's football game has made it on the to big screen before Netflix could even be fired up.