Catering to Generation C

The business opportunities created by an explosion of online video content, and a new kind of viewer who creates, consumes and curates it all

Written by Staff

The way people produce and consumer content is changing, and there’s an opening for tech entrepreneurs to find new ways to deliver entertainment to an increasingly web-savvy, mobile audience.

People ages 18-34 who spend all their time online absorbing, curating and creating content are being called Generation C. These early adopters would rather watch an hour’s worth of short five-minute clips than whatever sitcoms and dramas are on TV. Google is looking to these Gen Cers to help legitimize YouTube as a real rival to conventional TV, since they’re already looking to the video platform for prime-time entertainment, reports Canadian Press writer Michael Oliveira.

The slow death of traditional TV and the rise of YouTube and other online platforms (at least among the 18 to 34 demographic) is an opportunity advertisers are already seizing. But it’s also an opportunity for entrepreneurs.

Last year, Brian Robbins,  a top producer of teen-targeted TV shows, switched gears and started AwesomenessTV, a YouTube channel for teens which has since signed up 600,000 subscribers and racked up more than 120 million views. In May, AwesomenessTV was acquired by Dreamworks Animation for a reported $33 million.

Robbins told Oliveira that his shift to producing digital content was inspired by watching his teenaged son’s nightly routine change. “He doesn’t really watch TV anymore. Whereas our weekends used to be spent watching our kids glued to the TV with their friends now my wife and I laugh watching them on that same sofa, TV off, with their heads buried in their phones and tablets,” said Robbins, adding that half of AwesomenessTV’s views are coming from mobile devices.

Tech Opportunity: Google Glass

Robbins’ success is just the beginning. Other producers, like Toronto-based Temple Street Productions, are also putting resources into YouTube as a major new channel for content. The company recently launched Boat Rocker Studios as a way to design content specifically for online viewing. This isn’t about reaching Gen C (or Gen Y) with online advertising—that opportunity has been around for years. It’s about capitalizing on a new market, as Robbins did.

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