Nancy Dubuc: TV Networks Need to Reach Millennial Viewers on Their Own Terms

Nancy Dubuc Power of Women New
Yu Tsai for Variety

This column is part of Variety’s Broken Hollywood feature. For more execs and their opinions on the state of Hollywood, click here.

It’s hard for me to accept the argument that millennials are not watching TV. I’m not one to believe that our culture of TV consumption is changing dramatically. It’s just how we consume and where we consume it that’s changing.

But I think there’s also a problem in that there isn’t an overwhelming amount of content for millennials on the air. We have spoken to them through reality TV. But if you look at the buckets of programming out there, the content we’re feeding that generation is not as on target as it needs to be.

News is a perfect example. We’ve all but written off a generation as it relates to watching a nightly newscast. But if you look at what we’re offering, it’s still a guy sitting behind a desk. It doesn’t take a big leap to understand that their appetite for news and information is not being met in the right way.

That was part of the reason we invested in Vice. It’s addressing our need to diversify and learn about how to reach this audience in new ways.

Digital is the buzzword of the moment. Advertising dollars are moving there. Talent is moving there, which is accelerating the growth. Digital brands are getting better and better at what they’re doing.

Our content needs to be more representative of the environment we’re in. We’ve learned that you can’t just put your promos up in a digital environment and expect the consumer will accept that as shortform content. It needs to have a unique point of view and style and execution that is tailored to that platform.

What someone does when viewing content on a tablet is different than the lean-back mentality of watching on the bigscreen. Our challenge is to make sure we’re acknowledging the need to get much more sophisticated in understanding those changes in creativity.

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  1. Brian says:

    You need to develop content specifically for the internet. Behind the scenes, deleted scenes, alternative scenes. Make the talent interact with their audiences, have that be apart of their contracts and dedicate some teams who know internet market to create these short videos. Interactive, fast paced and original are the keys. An interview is not an effective internet promo btw.

  2. Dave Creek says:

    I’m older, so I still watch nightly newscasts, both local and national. But I think the cable news channels are missing a good bet by relying on talking head and opinion segments so much. I understand that it’s cheaper (I worked almost 40 years in TV news), but I think airing a solid hour of actual reporter-driven content several times a day could bring a new audience in.

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