Video Killed The TV Star

In 1979, the Buggles song, “Video Killed the Radio Star,” topped the charts in 16 countries around the world. The song tells the tale of a radio star who is no longer relevant because he/she hasn’t been able to make the transition to video. As the lyrics lament:

In my mind and in my car

We can't rewind we've gone too far

Pictures came and broke your heart

Put the blame on VCR

Video killed the radio star

Video killed the radio star

Perhaps, ironically, the video for the song was the first music video shown on MTV when it debuted in the U.S. on Aug. 1, 1981.

Fast-forward to 2015 and the Buggles song might as well be titled, “Video Killed the TV Star,” at least as far as Millennials are concerned.



A study released earlier this year by YouTube network Defy Media found that on average Millennials watch 11.3 hours of online video per week as opposed to just 8.3 hours of broadcast TV.

The same study reports that 62% of Millennials said digital content made them “feel good” about themselves, vs. just 40% for TV. Importantly, Millennials said that they found digital content to be more relatable than TV content — 67% for digital content versus 41% for TV. So, Millennials are watching more online video than TV, it makes them feel good and they relate better to this content.

The good news is that, for brands looking to connect with Millennials, video offers an enormous opportunity to connect with this generation.

A major concern voiced by brands is how to create great video content at scale that cuts through the clutter. An opportunity that brands should be paying attention to is product review videos, videos created by a brand or influencer that contains reviews of branded products or services. In a recent SheSpeaks study, 96% of Millennials said that they had watched online product review videos. Combine this with the fact that 89% also said that an online video review was actually the “deciding factor” in buying a product, and you can see the power this medium has for Millennials. Product review videos can help fill that content gap in a cost-efficient way while driving to point of purchase.

Influencers can also help brands to further understand the intersection of what the brand means to consumers and how it fits in their lives. But, they must ensure that their video content comes across as authentic, informative and useful. Here’s how to do so:

  • Make sure to strike the right balance between the brand’s messaging and the influencer’s voice. This starts with finding influencers who fit the target audience, have their own ideas and bring their own piece to the table.
  • Be smart about whom to collaborate with. At a recent influencer conference, Emily Johnston, director of social engagement, Citizen Relations, said, “There are three things to keep in mind when choosing a creator to collaborate with: they should have content to leverage; creativity (meaning they have new ideas and new ways of thinking about the brand and how to deliver a message); and credibility (a relatable peer who can develop content and can leverage their credibility for the brand).”

Brands need to understand that Millennials turn to video/their devices for inspiration and information. By being there in those moments, the brand can be the solution.

1 comment about "Video Killed The TV Star".
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  1. Jackie Bird from Redbean Society, LLC, July 31, 2015 at 11:18 a.m.

    Love it! What a great analogy in time...Digital video is here to stay and a great challenge for brands and agencies to reinvent how we drive business with it.

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