MTV, the music video channel, has been adrift for the past few years.
Sure, they've got the Fall-of-Rome-evoking hit show "Jersey Shore," but it's been years -- maybe decades -- since MTV really captured the young and plugged-in generation. The problem with youth-oriented media companies, of course, is that they're inevitably run by old people.
Here's how MTV tackles that problem. From MediaPost:
In an array of initiatives spawned by President of MTV Stephen Friedman, top MTV executives are now being told what to do by the youngest members of their teams. Friedman coins the concept “reverse mentoring,” and the idea was that the only way MTV’s largely GenX management team would be able to get inside the mindsets of Millennials would be to put them more in charge.
Shore says it starts at the top, and that Friedman’s Millennial mentor has already has a profound influence on MTV and even its product: Friedman’s mentor came up with a new category in MTV’s vaunted Video Music Awards recognizing the “best video with a message.”
Shore says his own Millennial mentor “is not shy,” and recently asked him “why we don’t get to review you.”
In fact, he says an important distinction about Millennials in the workplace is that they actually want a “perpetual feedback loop.” Whereas Xers may have eschewed any feedback -- even an annual review -- Shore says, “Millennials are like, ‘Can you give me daily reviews?’ Their drive to self-improve is extremely high, and it reflects the world they grew up in, because they’re in a constant feedback loop.”
Does anything sound worse? "Reverse mentoring?" What could be more irritating than a lot of know-nothing twentysomethings bossing around the oldsters? And when they're not putting their bosses into skinny jeans and teaching them to love Young the Giant, they're demanding "feedback" -- read: unconditional praise -- and "daily reviews," just like in pre-school.
Is this the end of MTV? Or is MTV only the beginning? How long before the executives at Procter & Gamble get their interns to "reverse mentor?"