I am 23 years old which makes me a Zoomer who is old enough to remember when millennials were my age and in the ever so desired 18-25 and 18-35-year-old demographics. To any old media people reading this, stop salivating. A lot of us exist, even if your audience statistics don’t show it.
The only time old media (radio, tv, newspapers, tabloids, music labels and advertisers) ever shut up about how they ‘can’t get young people to engage’ is when they’re bragging that they know what young people want. But they really, really don’t.
With the great Facebook news purge of 2021, there was some glaring disparities between how every young person I know was looking at it compared to how (most) journalists were talking about it.
When it comes to thinking we would automatically take their side, there was one thing the old media got forgot: young people don’t pay attention to old media so we don’t care about it.
Old Media vs New Media
As far back as I can remember, there has been one widespread ‘conspiracy theory’ that I have seen constantly gain traction – ‘old media is afraid of new media and wants to destroy it’.
Many people I know looked at the media code as yet another example of old media refusing to adapt and just trying to destroy new media. It makes sense, the idea that old media refused for years to adapt to the internet then tried one revenue stream and went ‘yeah good enough’ but as young people got older and didn’t care about old media their revenue dropped and so they lashed out at Facebook and Google who give them free advertising.
Old media forgets that we remember all the shit they have pulled over the years.
Copyright: DMCA Abuse vs Fair Use
There is a common hatred for old media on YouTube and Twitch due to its double standards when it comes to copyright infringement, abuse of the DMCA system online and selfishness when it comes to fair use of copyrighted material.
For those boomers who don’t know what DCMA is, it’s basically an American law which allows copyright holders to issue you with a takedown notice if they feel you’re using their content and is the system most social media companies use. Sounds fair, right? Well, the old media have been abusing it for years.
Online it is basically accepted that if you play any content from old media in a YouTube video that you are risking losing all revenue from your work to a DMCA, even if your video falls under the standard set by legal precedent that what you did was not copyright infringement but just fair use of their IP. They will strike anything and everything.
Youtuber and Comedian Gus Johnson spoke about this in a video he made after losing all revenue on a video for saying the words ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, he didn’t play the song or show the movie but old media pulled it.
Now let’s compare that to basically any news or lifestyle show in the last 5 years at least, you know those segments where they just show full short online clips in their entirety? Most programs don’t pay for the use of those clips, instead relying on the ‘fair use’ doctrine that they routinely ignore when it comes to use of their own content. A lot of them don’t even give the proper credit, many credit ‘meme aggregators’ like Lad Bible who just steal other people’s content.
The issue is these are things that need to be argued in court and young creators can’t afford the long expensive process of suing a big corporation for what will be a small sum as a reward. This behaviour is not lost on young fans who see the creators we respect have to deal with this bullshit constantly.
‘Inappropriate Content’ and questionable reporting
Another weird double standard is the discussion around what is and isn’t appropriate content from our favourite creators and the double standards shown by the old media, as well as the reporting the goes along side it.
A major point of confusion is the weird way that old media seems to randomly pick favourites when it comes to influencers. If old-media likes someone they will constantly lift them up and can overlook any issues they have, if they don’t there is a reputation for non-stop unnecessary hit pieces that many young people just put to down to jealousy and the ego issue with journalism in general.
The biggest example is the controversial WSJ piece on Pewdiepie years ago. For those of you who don’t remember, the WSJ called Pewdiepie a Nazi and used screenshots of him grabbing things off camera as proof of him doing Nazi salutes and using old age demographic data to claim Pewdiepie had a younger audience than he currently did.
When it happened, new media instantly debunked it by showing they were screenshots taken in bad-faith, but old-media ran with it and still do to this day bring up the ‘history of alleged Nazi imagery’ despite it being proven wrong.
Old-media’s failure to slam the article not only fed into the narrative but also hurts its credibility whenever issues arise with other creators who do actually attempt ‘red-pill’ fans like what Pewdiepie was accused of, the now have multiple examples of dodgy hatchet jobs by old-media to convince fans that it is what is currently happening.
The other issue with appropriateness is when it comes to controversies about the appropriateness of content online vs in old-media. I think most people would agree that if content online is set by the creators to have age restrictions it should be allowed to do things that isn’t ‘family friendly’, however when it comes to new media, the fuckwits in old-media clutch their pearls when someone with an adult audience swears, like I just did.
Ever since the ‘adpocolypse’, an event where advertisers used their media pull to demand YouTube add in systems so they can dictate what kind of videos their ads appear on. This led to a system that punishes YouTubers for talking about issues POC, LGBTQ+ and Disabled people face, or even things like swearing in videos. Also, since YouTube needs to make money, they (allegedly) suppress videos that aren’t advertiser friendly in their all-important Suggested Videos algorithms.
However, even on YT, there is a double-standard for old media. Like when a YouTuber had advertising pulled from a charity video raising money for the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting but advertisers had a special deal to allow Jimmy Kimmel Live, who showed images from the event, to continue to have ads.
Also, how can old-media get upset when Youtubers say a fucking swear word when most of Aussie old-media are openly racist on air! Oh, so Lazarbeam said ‘shit’ which means it isn’t ok to show ads but those same companies advertise on Sunrise?
Not to say they punish all YouTubers, no they really like the ones that the rest of YT hate for making what content that should be considered inappropriate for the intended young audiences. There is a lot of examples of this.
One example is Lele Pons, a creator with an audience whose age range depends on who she talks to. She says 8-12-year-old girls unless she talks to the news, then it is 14-25-year-old girls. She is praised for ‘family friendly videos’ and for setting a ‘body positive’ message for young girls. New media could not disagree more.
Her video titles are things like ‘When your boyfriend cheats on you’, ‘Hot Substitute teacher’ and ‘How to not get bullied’. The content is hypersexualised, based in stereotypes, constantly has undisclosed sponsors (which means the sponsor approved not disclosing it) and sometimes have an uncomfortable amount of jokes about abuse and incest.
Also, when it comes to the advice in each video, here is each one for the real videos I mentioned. Boyfriend cheats? It’s because you aren’t pretty enough so you should use Covergirl makeup. Hot teacher? Seduce him. Being bullied? Get beaten up and record it. In fact her content is so bad, when a YouTuber called Nerd City (with an adult audience) did a video calling these issues out, he lost his ads and got the YT version of an R-18 rating for the footage of the ‘g’ to ‘pg’ rated content the old-media praises.
She isn’t alone in this. Her type of content is massive amongst creators that old media loves. And for young people we know there has to be a reason for it, but logically it makes no sense. The creators we like get punished for the actions of the toxic creators, while the toxic creators get exclusive deals and praise from the old media.
That all leads into my last point.
Young people don’t care about old-media, but old-media doesn’t seem to care about young people either.
Old-media constantly complains that it is impossible to get young people to engage, but we do engage. Just not with them. I would rather donate money to a free livestream than sit and watch the garbage on TV.
The old media don’t even try to engage with us. They have this weird ‘why fix what ain’t broke’ mentality when it comes to the content we don’t watch.
“Hey young people, want to watch a show that talks down to you like a child made by old people who think they get the youths?” No.
“Fine then, what about a poorly written, acted and directed drama about a bunch of white people who either live in the city or move to the country that seems the exact same as the last one you didn’t watch” Nah I’m good, other countries make dramas worth watching.
“Hmm, any chance you want to watch a panel of racist people discuss whether racism is a problem?” Fuck no!
“Oh, I know want to watch a personality driven show about people talking about issues hosted by a relatable and funny person?” Yes.
“Cool, someone grab Dave Hughes!” Wait no. We wanted funny and relatable. Why is it always him? You know he isn’t Carl Barron, right?
The only time old media isn’t complaining that they don’t know how to reach young people is when they are bragging that they do. Honestly, I think the best example of the media’s fundamental lack of understanding of young people is the last season of Gruen, one of the only shows I think is worth watching. The last season became a struggle for me to watch as they praised awful ads and campaigns then would shit on the rare good one.
One episode they would say they struggle with young people, the next they would praise the kinds of ads you can find on r/fellowkids (a forum on Reddit where people share desperate and cringe-inducing attempts to relate to young people) like in Season 12 Episode 1 when they said any brand can do branded social media posts, but if you scroll through the most popular posts of all time on the subreddit those sorts of posts dominate the list.
In a segment from the same episode, they praised TikTok’s ads pointing to the amount of young people that use the social media as proof. Who the fuck has ever used a social media based on an ad? It is only word-of-mouth. Also, TikTok’s ads are notorious for being bad. They have been called out for being cringe-inducing and stealing content all the time. Their PR team even hit back at r/fellowkids for making fun of them.
It doesn’t shock me that I have seen Gruen panellists praise the god-awful attempts at Zoomer humour that the Labor party throw out. It’s like they don’t get that Zoomer humour constantly incorporates irony.
— Dee Madigan (@deemadigan) January 12, 2021
It isn’t like we hate all attempts at memes from people older than us, when it feels like a genuine effort has been put in by the person or company to understand young people it can become a wholesome meme in its own right. When it feels forced however, that is when it makes our eyes roll to the back of our heads.
They seemed to confuse us seeing something with us responding to it. They looked at it as ‘view=success’ even if the ads make us not want to use the product. I don’t care if an ad says something is good quality, advertisers lie, it’s their job! We want ads that are interesting to watch.
To be fair, we don’t see many ads anymore. Remember, old-media punishes the creators we like and refuse to advertise on them. Sure, advertisers will spend millions on radio ads to get racist people to talk to tens of thousands of people each day but they won’t spend way less to sponsor online creators with millions of loyal and dedicated young viewers.
Not every old media person fails at this. There are rare gems we don’t hate. Have You Been Paying Attention, Gogglebox (which is just a YT genre but on TV) and Hard Chat to name a few. All personality driven content. We don’t need a set to look expensive or hosts whose personalities are about as real as they are humble. We want personality.
In 2019, I saw a bunch of my friends posting about the Logies. THE LOGIES! Do you think we suddenly started to care about an award show where the nominees are just average size fish in a tiny pond? Hell no! Tom Gleeson made that awful shit fun. But then old-media tried to make him out as a bad guy for trying to make a dog-shit irrelevant award show worth watching.
Hell, young people will even watch old clips from The Chaser’s War on Everything. That show references things we don’t understand, but we watch it because it is good content.
We want authenticity in our content, but the media can’t connect those dots apparently. They just keep pumping out the same boring, lazy, uninspired bullshit from people we find obnoxious. The internet has talent in droves. Old-media loves to tell rags to riches stories about singers found online but ignore that other mainstream artists used the internet to get content out, with some being the biggest YouTubers back in the day, like Bo Burnham and Donald Glover.
That level of content is still online, so why would we watch the old-media garbage made by an industry that constantly tries to undermine our favourite creators and refuses to listen to us or make an effort.
Essentially, I think like most issues currently facing Aussie media, comedian Ronny Chieng has summed up the root of the issue with one tweet, that he has tweeted a lot:
Too many old Australian people in decision making positions in Australian TV and Film. https://t.co/ZpBRQkeg47
— Ronny Chieng (@ronnychieng) September 26, 2020