Caution: Gen Y Makes Sharp Turns

I'd like to share some insights I've gained from my Gen Y students at USC. Their generation wants what they want when they want it (who don't know that, as they say in Philly). But when they get what they want, they may not want it for long. Can you say instant messaging? It's so on it's way out. While texting is hot now, even my Gen Y'ers can't guarantee that it has a place in their lifestyle much longer down the line. Facebook -- the college social network has peaked. MySpace could be on thin ice if Rupert Murdoch's News Corp makes it too much a business. And while YouTube has never been hotter -- well, you get the point. This has all sorts of implications. In the past if a radio station developed a format that worked, it could expect to ride their success for years to come and maybe even adapt and adjust to keep it alive (top 40 to oldies). TV has had generations of viewers since the 50's loyally switching their sets on and off when the networks and stations offered their shows. No more. DVRs and Internet competition have factored in. No guarantee TV will be TV in five years. NBC is scaring me. In fact, the TV powers are hell bent to bust into the online video business and it seems like they don't really have a plan. They just don't want to be late to the party. What I'm saying is that the party doesn't last as long any more. And that if lesson one is to understand the new rules of engagement to attract the next generation then rule two is to factor in planned obsolescence. The party is over shortly after it starts and the deft media companies will have to commit to 24/7 planning, testing and implementation of new ideas or they in fact will be passe.