Teens readily accept lewd humor and are no longer easily impressed by sexual content, noted MTV president Christina Norman at the one-day What Teen’s Want conference in Marina Del Rey, Calif. Giving
Teens readily accept lewd humor and are no longer easily impressed by sexual content, noted MTV president Christina Norman at the one-day What Teen’s Want conference in Marina Del Rey, Calif. Giving an early morning keynote at the city’s Marriott Hotel, Normal discussed the blurring lines between marketing and entertainment, as well as the continuing challenge MTV faces in reaching a savvy, Web-hungry audience.
“Crude humor is the norm and sex is no longer shocking,” said Norman. She said the network that popularized extreme stunt show “Jackass” is having continued success with “authentic” programming. She pointed to the way video countdown show “TRL” has evolved into a show with two entry points for viewers. In addition to the traditional television program, fans can now go to MTV.com to watch continued coverage of “TRL” during commercial breaks and see behind-the-scenes footage.
Yet what is authentic and what is commercial is ever-evolving. Norman briefly brought up the LonelyGirl15 videos, which were distributed over YouTube. The confessional style videos were shot as if they were user-generated content, but eventually turned out to be staged. Norman said advertisers and entertainment companies will have to start asking whether something is “too real or not real enough.”
She notes that today’s audience will be able to easily spot something that’s inauthentic, and advertisers will have to get out of “comfort zone.” Norman said marketers who strive to entertain and inspire an audience to participate will be the ones that will have success.
There’s a difference, she says, between “overly trying to sell” a product and engaging an audience in some way. Today’s viewers understand that advertising is the “price we pay for television,” she said, so it’s to marketers to “make sure it has value.”
Norman also said that MTV is continuing to look at launching its own social networking sites. She says the station created a successful virtual “Laguna Beach,” which is designed to promote the show of the same name, and is “looking at [creating] communities around music,” but adds anything new cannot be just another MySpace or YouTube.
In other news from What Teens Want:
-In a panel moderated by VNU editorial director Sid Holt, Tagged.com co-founder Greg Tseng echoed Norman’s thoughts about advertising, adding that “advertisers need to become more participants rather than just giving a message.” YouTube marketing manager Jennifer Nielsen said the company is launching more and more themed channels to appeal to advertisers, such as sponsored events like “YouTube Underground,” which is a contest for unsigned bands. She says comedy and film are different themes that the company is exploring for sponsorship opportunities.