Made in Germany
Did you know here in Germany, the median age of the German male is 45.1 and for the German female it’s 47.2 The only country with an older median age is Monaco; 50.0 and 52.3 respectively. It’s no wonder that the cultural values that made Germany the strongest GDP in the European Union reflect our behavior: stability and punctuality, order and formality. Unfortunately, these are values which make it a huge challenge to live in a world of constant change. A future defined by companies that value audaciousness over incrementalism, can handle ambiguity over certainty, and feel fast is better than slow. But more importantly, these are companies that understand the value of a person’s attention.
So, you might be asking yourself, what does this have to do with media? With advertising?
We have switched from a supply-based economy to a demand-based economy with attention being the main currency. This isn’t news to those of you that have a few Millennials (those born between the early 1980s to the early 2000s) at home. You’ve most likely noticed their attention is not exclusively on television, radio or print but rather mobile messaging and streaming video platforms. In other words, tomorrow’s media is being defined by the behavior of today’s Millennials.
If you spend any time with Millennials you’ve seen the signs: a preoccupation with their friends through their phones running apps such as Facebook (aka Instagram and WhatsApp), Snapchat and YouTube. In the past couple of years, as media and advertising executives across the country have been worrying about financials for the next quarter, thirteen employees were made multimillionaires when their photo sharing app was bought for $1 billion, WhatsApp sold at a $19 billion valuation and Felix Kjellberg (of PewDiePie fame) has 38 million subscribers on his YouTube channel. Not too shabby for a 25 y.o. college drop-out from Gothenburg, Sweden.
Now that I have your attention let me tell you, if you’re worried about what’s going to replace television you’re worrying about the wrong thing. Facebook is a broadcast medium. Periscope is a broadcast medium. Twitch is a broadcast medium. SnapChat is a broadcast medium. YouTube is a broadcast medium. Don’t focus on what could be the next broadcast platform; every platform that can be consumed with a screen has a good chance to replace television viewing. Instead, focus on the changing behaviors of the millions of people that are actively viewing content on these emerging platforms.
Focus on a future made in Germany. It’s up to you.
Originally written for the August 05th edition of Absatzwirtschaft.