When Judy McGrath and Nick Shore talk about the impetus behind Astronauts Wanted, they sound like long-distance runners in a never-ending race. There’s no finish line per se, just another generation of young people whose entertainment desires they need to decipher and outpace.
It’s a fast-paced mode that McGrath and Shore willingly chose when they departed MTV Networks back in 2013. They were well aware that while MTV had forged many a trailblazing path with young viewers, everything had changed dramatically.
“It’s much more democratized than it ever was. There’s many more places, chances, platforms, players than ever before,” Astronauts Wanted Founder & President McGrath says in this joint interview with Shore by Beet.TV during the Digital Content NewFronts. “And I wanted to jump in and follow the audiences.”
In what is now a joint venture with Sony Music Entertainment, Astronauts Wanted can’t be content with just satisfying millennials. In fact, that age cohort is almost yesterday’s news.
“We’re entering a period where millennials are aging out of the youth demo at the top end,” says Shore, who is Chief Creative Strategist. Given the rise of Gen Z, “Every time a generation shifts, tastes change, stories change, the way to tell those stories changes and it almost always takes the entertainment industry off guard when that happens.”
Astronauts Wanted sees itself as positioned at the generational inflection point and solve for the marketplace the challenge of catering to the next wave of culture seekers.
“I think the content level of TV has risen to a point where it would be challenging to get somebody into a movie theatre,” McGrath observes. “You have to do something really unique and different. Everyone’s upping their game.”
One key distinction between the MTV of yore and today’s video entertainment landscape that both McGrath and Shore relate to is that, while some TV networks are still quite meaningful and powerful, the old gates have been blown away.
“You are no longer the only game in town,” says McGrath but “in the reinvention business all the time now.”
Asked what he hopes marketers take home from the presence of Astronauts Wanted at the NewFronts, Shore says, “Here comes a new generation and just like millennials reinvented entertainment, these guys are going to do it as well. I want to make them thoughtful about that and stop and think ‘who do we talk to about that.’”
This video is part of Beet.TV’s coverage of the IAB’s Digital Content NewFronts 2017. The series is sponsored by the IAB. For more videos from the #NewFronts, please visit this page.