EPIX CEO: Kids are media omnivores, industry must adapt

December 3, 2009

Remember when the “good” TV in the house only received 7 or 8 channels?

Most young people today cannot, and in many ways they could not care less. Even more, they probably think that it is just as odd that we “old folks” don’t understand their ability juggle multiple devices and inputs. Therein lies a critical challenge for broadcasters using old media models to reach younger audiences, Mark Greenberg, president of cable channel EPIX said speaking at the Reuters Global Media Summit.

Hey, even Anne Sweeney, president of the Disney/ABC Television Group,  had to force her college-bound kid to take an actual TV to school.

Greenberg’s EPIX offers a “screening room” service that allows subscribers to order a movie on EPIX’s web site and share it with friends who are watching at the same time in other locations. In the meantime you can chat with each other about the film — that’s “chat”, like, commenting about the star’s clothing by typing “I want to buy those shoes” into a little box, not “chat” as in “dude, pass the nachos.”

Greenberg explains that that is the world young folks, like his teenage son, live in:

I look at my 17 year old — we tease him and refer to his bedroom as “the hole”, because he has got his big screen TV, it is hooked up to a DVR, he’s got his other TV set set up to his Xbox, his got laptop and his cell phone and he doing his homework. and by the way — he’s a great student, so i can’t complain.

But this generation multitasks in a totally different way and what we have to do as programmers is start thinking about how we are making content available on their terms and not my terms.

That’s the mistake the music industry made. They said you have to listen to a CD and spend $14.99, and you have to go to HMV to buy it. This generation, for better for worse, this group has a different behavior.  If we want to build this, this is where we need to go. This is the way the world is now evolving.

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