The media needs to keep up with the millennial generation or ‘risk alienating’ them, according to Vice founder and CEO Shane Smith.
Delivering the keynote MacTaggart lecture at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, Smith said that it is clear that young people do not consume media in the same way as previous generations, and that relying on traditional methods to pull through will lead to a ‘bloodbath’.
Smith said, “There is a revolution going on in media. It’s scary, and it’s fast, and it’s going to be ugly. But it’s also totally necessary to keep going forward. Change has never been more important, never so crucial – especially in our industry.
“In the long term, it means a changing playing field, a mild to medium dose of chaos, and a fast moving, ever-shifting, highly volatile marketplace, in which only the most nimble and dynamic companies will survive.”
“Baby boomers have had a stranglehold on media and advertising for a generation. That stranglehold is finally being broken by a highly educated, ethnically diverse, global-thinking, hard-to-reach generation, and media is having a hard time adapting to this rapid change.”
He also voiced fears about the future for many new media businesses, saying about 30 per cent face either being taken over or going under.
The main cause of this is a gigantic shift in advertising, with ad blocking and declining online advertising rates making it more difficult to establish consistent, significant profit.
Smith said that was one reason why Vice is moving into television.
The youth brand that began as a magazine in Canada is now a TV and online video business worth £3.4 billion.