Attack of the Millennial Networks

PHOTO: Millennials: Were after you.

Hi, we’re Alex and Jorge. We’re young, bilingual and college-educated, and that makes us the prime target of cable TV business today. Never mind that we don’t watch - or even own - television. That makes us even more enticing. Oh the possibilities! In fact, you’re reading this story on the ABC News website as we gear up for the launch of Fusion, a news and lifestyle cable network that ABC and Univision are launching later this year.

Fusion’s target audience are young people, specifically English-speaking Latinos in the U.S. By the end of the year there will be at least three entirely new media networks going after similar audiences that Fusion is targeting--young people ages 15 to 34,  the generation dubbed “millennials.”

The new network’s executives say they’re filling a void but they’re also going after a group with extraordinary buying power. By 2017 millennials will have more spending power than any other generation.

Let’s take a look at these new networks, what sets them apart from the others and their chances of survival in this incredibly crowded space.

Go Big or Go Home

The new networks are backed by big names and media powerhouses and in Fusion’s case, two media powerhouses coming together to launch a joint venture. Next month on August 1st, Participant Media--the company behind the films “The Help” and “An Inconvenient Truth”--is launching a network called Pivot that targets millennials interested in inspiring change.

There’s also El Rey and Al Jazeera America. And even Sean “Puffy” Combs has been tapped to curate the network dubbed “Revolt.”

Fusion and El Rey, both Univision-supported English-language networks that seek to reach, inform, and entertain predominantly English-speaking Latinos and, more broadly, the millennial generation as a whole. El Rey will focus not on news content, but on “a mix of reality, scripted, music and sports programming, along with movies, with filmmaker Robert Rodriguez at its helm.

Huff Post Live and Vice aren’t launching their own traditional TV networks per se but are a powerful force producing innovative video content across several different platforms that are already reaching young people pretty successfully.

For the purposes of clarity, this story will refer to the estimated 100 million individuals ages 15-34 in the U.S. as “millennials” but let the record state this group resists labels. That’s why this group has been referred to an endless number of descriptors including Generation Y, Generation 9/11 and Generation Plan B.

Demographers and marketing executives haven’t been able to pin down a label for young adults that has stuck around but what they have figured out is that millennials have tremendous buying power. And they’re consuming media.

For every study out there that says millennials no longer watch TV, there’s a study that says they are indeed watching a lot of TV. But one thing the studies agree on is millenials want their content wherever they are, whenever they want it. And the media giants are obliging.

The Kids Are Still Alright

Historian and demographers William Strauss and Neil Howe are widely credited for coining the term millennials. They use 1982 as the millennials' starting birth year and 2004 as the last birth year.

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