Is Gen Y Wired for Television?

Cory Treffiliti had an interesting post this week on MediaPost, talking about how TV (and the 30 second spot) is not dead, and how, for two occasions, at least (the Super Bowl and the inauguration) he found himself in front of a TV, not a monitor.

Right now, I’ve been doing a lot of reading about the concept of digital immigrants and digital natives. The theory is that through neuroplasticity and neural pruning, we have a generation coming forward that are fluent in digital technology. Actually, tomorrow I’m talking to one of the researchers, Teena Moody at UCLA, who has been doing some interesting fMRI studies in the area, along with Dr. Gary Small.

So, if the Digital Native theory holds true, I wonder what that does to Treffiliti’s observation. I, like Cory, find myself wanting the more immersive experience of a TV for certain types of viewing. But the fact is, the TV is a technology I grew up with. My brain is wired to understand TV. Is the same true of a 15 year old who’s used to doing 6 things at once in front of a computer? Would they have the same need to watch events like this on the TV, rather than a computer monitor, or a mobile device, for that matter?

The media we interact with determines the media we seek. I agree with Cory that TV, as we know it, is in no imminent danger of demise, but I also see it caught in a wave of change that will make it increasingly difficult to stake some revenue positive high ground. And if we thought the past decade was one of precipitous change, what happens when the technologically fluent Gen Y’s start taking over the world? In the words of Bachman Turner Overdrive (giving away both my age and my Canadian nationality in one fell swoop):

“You ain’t seen nothing yet!”

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