Archive for Personal reflections – Page 2

Driving Across the Fly-Over

Forty years ago, I made the first of five cross-country trips in two and a half years between New Jersey and Los Angeles, where I attended USC. This August, I made the trip again, making the long drive with my son to deliver him to his semester at Emerson College’s satellite campus in Los Angeles. As a researcher, and as a citizen, it’s a trip that offers many insights into our country.

Some Things Have Changed…

Welcome to PA signIn the 38 years since my last trip some things have changed. Certainly from a personal perspective, making the trip in a roomy Mazda 3 with air conditioning and automatic transmission is quite an improvement over a non-air-conditioned Ford Pinto 2-door with a three-speed stick.

Welcome to WV signFrom a media perspective, of course there have been enormous changes. In my Pinto, I had an AM/FM radio and a battery-powered portable cassette player for music. If I got into trouble, I had to rely on the occasional highway-side emergency phone, or else go searching for a pay phone. Navigation was purely by paper map.

Welcome to IL signThis year, just by virtue of my iPhone, I had 4,205 of my favorite songs downloaded and ready to play, plus dozens of podcast episodes and half a dozen audiobooks. My son could watch videos while we drove, or listen to his own music. The smartphone also was our navigator, source of information about roadside gas, food, and attractions, as well as a way of emergency communication if needed. The only gap in coverage was a very small section of New Mexico, and that was only because we took a long detour off the main interstates. Add in the Mazda’s own AM/FM/HD Radio, and we were truly spoiled for entertainment on our week’s journey.

Welcome to OK signAnother difference in the trip from the 1970s was the more common presence of national brands. Back then McDonald’s was perhaps the most common brand I could see coast-to-coast, aside from hotel chains. But this has changed to include a number of fast-food and fast-casual chains, big box stores like Home Depot, and of course the ever-present Walmart. While these common brands take some of regional distinctions from the marketplace, for a cross-country traveler they make for something of a familiar comfort.

…Some Not So Much

Welcome to NM signFor all that our car and media had changed, some things did not change in the many years from my first cross-country trip. There is still the sense of how wide open the United States is. After living most of my life in either the suburbs of New York or Los Angeles, the vast rural areas of our country are still amazing. Relatively large cities seem to emerge from nowhere, with suburbs of maybe 10 to 20 miles radius as opposed to the 60 or more miles I’ve grown used to around NYC or LA.

FSoylent Green posterunnily enough, back then and even on this trip, I somehow always thought back about the movie Soylent Green and how its premise was the cities were so crowded because overpopulation had filled the countryside – I don’t know how that could ever happen! But I digress…

Welcome to AZ sign

The other striking things are the places and the people. In between cities, where there are towns, while some prosper as anchors for national chains, many do not. They consist of a few stores, schools, and a gas station. You can see how the rise of Walmart and big box stores, along with the decline in US-based manufacturing, has hollowed out many towns. It’s not something you see often driving around the NYC Tri-State area, or Southern California.

Welcome to CA sign

Without intending to be condescending, the people are also different than we see in our media world bubbles. The stereotypical farmer or rancher in his suspenders, overalls, and (non-fashion) trucker hat is common. Again, while some of us may have originally come from these areas, how often are these consumers included in our studies? I can’t help but think that choosing between between streaming TV services is at the top of their list of things to worry about.

Some Answers Are Six Miles Down

I’m always one to complain about someone presenting anecdotes as research, so just consider these to be some unscientific observations along one particular route that took in parts of NJ, PA, WV, OH, IN, IL, MO, OK, TX, NM, AZ, and CA.

For a researcher in any industry, I feel that getting such a ground-level exposure to the American consumer is a powerful reminder of just how varied this country is. For those in media, concentrated on the coasts, it is a particularly important lesson. And it can help inform those who can’t understand the success of Fox News Channel, or the results of the last presidential race, from the perspective of the coasts. Some of the answers can be seen out your window – 35,000 feet below you.

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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A Big Boo-Hoo for Digital Advertisers

illustration of ads on webpageI see from a recent spate of articles that the digital ad industry is quite upset with Apple’s new release of their Safari browser. The bone of contention is an increased emphasis on user privacy. Apple will be adding default settings that will alert users via pop-up notifications when Facebook or others try to collect tracking data, and make it harder to track people using digital fingerprinting techniques.

I’m afraid I shed few tears for a digital ad industry that has put itself in this position through abuse of its relationship with consumers – if you can call it a relationship.

Outside our media and digital industry bubbles, I would say few consumers have a true understanding of how they are tracked. Not only through cookies, which many people know about, but through the more insidious means of digital fingerprinting. This can track users using device information such as browser versions, installed fonts, plug-ins, or even typing habits.

Just because you can get your hands on a mountain of data on consumers, doesn’t mean it’s right to use it. And it only takes a few bad actors to spoil the well for everyone.

The Issues

Let’s consider some of what the industry is complaining about.

  • A reduction in personal tracking data could reduce personalization of content. Alright, I will give them this as a fair reason
  • It could reduce personalization of advertising. You mean the retargeting that hounds consumers for months or years after visiting a website once? Not a convincing reason.
  • Reducing personal tracking data can affect industry systems that ID fraudulent advertising. Why is this the consumer’s problem?
  • It deprives websites of advertising revenue. Again, why is that the consumer’s problem? Find a way to make money that works within what consumers are willing to share.
  • The implementation will require users to respond to a pop-up to allow tracking to proceed as before. This doesn’t seem to be a big price to pay to have consumers opt-in. Laughably, the industry talks about adding to a “blizzard of pop-ups” – and whose fault are all those pop-ups?

Looking at that list doesn’t sound much like advocacy for consumers; it sound more like an industry that doesn’t want to change.

Readers of this blog know I don’t have a lot of love for the promises of digital advertising, promises which go more to serve advertisers rather than consumers. Apple itself has a vested interest in advertising and advancing its own business plans, so its move here is not entirely altruistic – but it’s a breath of fresh air compared to other digital players.

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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Drake vs The Beatles: Let It Be

Billboard Hot 100 logoAs a (young) Boomer, I was a little dismayed last week. I saw that Billboard declared that Drake had taken away a record from The Beatles – most songs in the Hot 100’s Top 10 in a given week. Drake’s seven songs had beaten The Beatles’ five songs. This record had stood for 54 years, since 1964.

I don’t have anything in particular against Drake. I know little about him other than he’s Canadian and seems to be at a lot of NBA games. But as a researcher, I was curious how he had broken such a long-standing record, especially against my generation’s touchstone music group.

We Can Work It Out

Doing a little digging around on the internet, it quickly seemed apparent that this record breaking is about as meaningful as saying Drake’s seven apples breaks The Beatles’ record of five oranges. As clickbait, it’s great; as a real comparison, it leaves something to be desired.

Although Billboard does not publish any information, numerous online sources discuss how the calculation of Billboard’s Hot 100 has changed many times over the years. These changes reflect both changes in how people listen to music, and what metric the industry was looking for in a particular era (eg, popularity or profitability?). In 1964, it seems that sales of singles and radio airplay accounted for much of the calculation of the Hot 100, with more weight towards sales. In contrast, today’s calculations are mostly based on radio airplay, streaming requests across all types of sources including YouTube, and digital sales.

If one were a bitter Boomer, one could argue that five songs which were ranked in the Hot 100 to a great extent because people actually had to pay for the records is a superior achievement than seven songs that are mostly ranked because of listening through free radio or free/subscription-based streaming audio.

Or is total reach the best measure? The Beatles sold 25 million records in 1964. If one considers the 10-19 age range their target market, then that means that about there was one Beatles record sold per 1.4 members of the 35 million youngsters in that cohort in 1964.  I could not find similar data available for Drake; but with a 10-19 population of about 42 million in 2018, he’d have sell 30 million song or album downloads to proportionately equal The Beatles’ 1964 sales. But we’ll never really know which is better than the other due to the changes in how people get music today – there is little need to buy music due to all-you-can-listen subscription streaming.

Come Together

Are the Yankees of 2018 better than the Yankees of 1964? While both played baseball, they played two very different types of ball game and need to be considered in the context of the differences between eras. The bottom line is that comparing Hot 100 lists of these different eras is no more meaningful than comparing baseball’s hitters and pitchers of today versus 1964.

*** Jan 2019 update: just to emphasize the difference above, someone named “A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie” hit number one on the Hot 100 by selling only 823 copies – but had 83 million streams *** 

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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Dave the Research Grouch: Variety and Cowan

Variety logoLast week, Variety (and multiple others) published a report on a new study from Cowan & Co. on Netflix use, and it’s hard to decide at whom to get grouchy. At Variety, for writing up an article with no context, or Cowan for dropping survey results without publishing any details about their study.

Let’s look at the headline first – “Netflix Is No. 1 Choice for TV Viewing, Beating Broadcast, Cable and YouTube (Study)”. What, according to the article, did the survey results actually say? That people self-reported they used Netflix (27%) “more often” to view than cable TV (20%) or broadcast TV (18%).

Let’s parse this out a bit. First, consider that Nielsen reported in Q1 2017 that 90% of viewing time is still on traditional TV networks. Sure, there are issues with Nielsen but even so it is reasonable to assume that it’s not too far off. This means that in terms of actual viewing time among the total population, Netflix is nowhere near the most-watched platform despite what people may say they “use most often.”

Second is the rather subjective decision to compare broadcast and cable separately against Netflix. It’s been my experience that people with a streaming agenda tend to also be the ones who say viewers can’t tell or don’t care about cable vs broadcast. But that would ruin the headline, because it would change to “Legacy TV Networks Are No. 1 Choice for TV Viewing [38%], Beating Netflix [27%] and YouTube.”

This point is emphasized further when the data for homes with pay TV are shown. Most trusted studies show that a majority of Netflix homes still have pay TV in some form, and here the difference is even more pronounced, with 45% choosing legacy broadcast or cable and 24% Netflix. No attention-getting, disruptive headline from that.

The Frowns are Awarded

Thus a big Research Grouch frown is aimed at Variety (and other sites) for publishing these data without any context at all – context one would hope the beat writers in this area would know enough to include.

Cowan doesn’t escape without a frown either, for my pet peeve – promoting a study without publishing anything about it on their own site. I could not find anything on their website or a press release with which to follow-up. I understand that we don’t need a dissertation, but if you’re going to promote research, then at least have some basic details available to read outside the lens of the press, who (from experience) are notoriously fast-and-loose with their interpretation of research results. What age was the sample? When was it fielded? How was it weighted?

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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Quick takes from ARF AudienceXScience conference

ARF LogoLast week, I attended the ARF’s AudienceXScience (AxS) conference in Jersey City. A new incarnation of the former Audience Measurement conference, it’s one of my two favorite conferences of the year. Here are some highlights from the main keynotes, plus an observation about the conference itself.

The Future of TV’s Currency and Measurement
Linda Yaccarino (NBCU), Dave Morgan (Simulmedia)
Sound bite: The opening salvo in the recurring theme of traditional television being a better value versus digital. Traditional television needs to counter the narrative being driven by digital. The TV industry should not be tied to legacy audience measures or back office systems if they are not in step with the changes occurring in the industry.

Nielsen’s View on Media Measurement
Megan Clarken (Nielsen),  Scott McDonald (ARF)
Sound bite: Continued Nielsen’s recent themes of being open to new approaches and new partnerships to deal with business issues – without necessarily committing to either.

The Future of Media: An Epic Battle
Laura Martin (Needham & Company)

Sound bite: Despite advantages in many business KPIs, the FAANGs will not “defeat” legacy television because of the need for storytelling excellence and creating emotional connections. Their only path to success is acquiring a legacy media company and let it do its thing.

An Evolving Arena: Program Currency and Measurement
Lisa Heimann (NBCU), ‎James Petretti (Sony), Will Kreth (EIDR)

Sound bite: Cross-platform is important for program development and promotion just as it is for advertising sales. But a big part of the puzzle continues to be missing due to some streaming partners refusing to cooperate and share data.

An Agency Perspective: The State of Media
Lyle Schwartz (GroupM), Joe Mandese (MediaPost)

Sound bite: GroupM is asking more from the data but extracting less; research has not evolved to match consumer and business changes. Need to get to a seamless “device-agnostic” measurement, but to do so, marketers will have to reformulate their device-centric planning and viewpoints.

Reach & Frequency Balance: How to Get it Right in the World of Advanced Television
David F. Poltrack (CBS), Radha Subramanyam (CBS)
Sound bite: Ad buyers have always traded off between reach and frequency, but recent years have moved from a focus on reach to a focus on efficiency. This leads to less reach and more frequency, and undervaluing of television. Excess exposures have no value, so advertisers should be converting those exposures to new exposures via TV.

How to Use 6’s – ARF 2018 Primary Research
Paul Donato (ARF), Dan Schiffman (TVision)

Sound bite: Linear TV 6 second ads seem to work at present, but have had some advantages such as being placed in premium primetime content, in short pods, or in favorable pod positions. There are a lot of areas still to explore as these 6s become more prevalent.

Consumers, Cross-Platform & Trust
Bryan Wiener (comScore), Jason Lynch (Adweek)

Sound bite: Wiener sees the audience measurement space as open for innovation, but he did not seem to want to be held back by legacy expectations of quality or accreditation before releasing new products.

Oxford Style Debate: Has Marketing Taken Targeting Too Far?
Arguing for: Gian Fulgoni (former comScore), Radha Subramanyam, (CBS)

Arguing against: Dave Morgan (Simulmedia), Yin Woon Rani (Campbell Soup)
Sound bite: A new format for the conference, and it went pretty well – although it seemed too long since many of the same arguments kept being made. Those arguing “For” focused on the bad experience retargeting gives consumers, and that narrowing the base of consumers exposed to your brand can have a negative long-term impact. Those arguing “Against” said not to condemn a whole concept because of bad implementation; in the long-term, targeting is the right way to go as problems get corrected. As for the result of the debate, a fairly even split in the audience before the debate was converted into a clear win for the “Against” team after the debate.

How Far Can You Go? (before government steps in, that is)
Tim Wu (Columbia Law School)

Sound bite: The European model of GDPR with regards to data privacy is unlikely to gain traction in the USA. Instead, we may see more stringent fiduciary duty defined for those who collect or use consumer data.

Thoughts on the conference itself

The ARF AxS (or AM) conference series has been fighting a battle to maintain relevance over the past few years. Perhaps most notably, its usual dates are now used by both the TV of Tomorrow conference in San Francisco and the VideoNuze Online Ad Summit, siphoning off potential speakers from important digital media firms. Even among the core group of past AM participants (media companies built around TV networks), it seems attendance is down. Media consolidation doesn’t help, and neither do changes in budget or leadership priorities, but…

I often joke about seeing the “same cast of characters” at ARF conferences over the 20+ years I’ve been going to them, but perhaps it’s not so funny. I am a firm believer in the ARF and its mission, but I’m sure the ARF can appear to younger people as a crotchety old uncle trying to enforce dedication to methodological rigor and quality established by the generation of researchers who came up to lead the industry in the 1960s and 1970s. Not that rigor and quality are bad things, but I’m sure it sounds preachy at times, especially to younger industry members who are in companies founded on disruption.

The ARF has made strides in recent years in outreach to younger generations of researchers (Young Pros, for example). Under new leadership, it has refocused its overall efforts in the past year to be more relevant. And I’m sure the ARF tries to get its digital members to participate in AxS.

I Love You ARF, But…

But judging by AxS, the ARF still has a way to go to reflect the diversity in our industry – not only by demographics but also in types of firms that show up for its conferences. If it continues to be mostly older white guys talking about television-centric topics (I’m guilty on all counts, by the way), AxS will continue to lose ground to competitive conferences in the near term — and the ARF its relevance to the next generation of advertising researchers in the long term.

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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Friday Finds: 2001 A Space Odyssey

Friday Finds shares a piece of content I’ve recently experienced.

Today’s find: 2001: A Space Odyssey
Genre: Science Fiction, Feature Film
Origin: MGM
Find it: Special engagements in cinemas

2001 poster
It’s hard to believe it is half a century since I dragged my father to see 2001: A Space Odyssey when it opened. To celebrate that anniversary, I dragged my son to see 2001 at a special screening in New York City. The circle of life!

The impetus for our trip to the city? An original 70mm print of 2001 which is visiting different cities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the movie’s release, with the help of director Christopher Nolan

While I’ve seen the film dozens of times on television – at least the middle, less confusing parts of it – I have no memory of seeing it in a theater. As an print, not a digital remaster, the touring version is much as I saw it in 1968 – although this time we can see much more of it since it is in 70mm format!

The sequence showing Heywood Floyd (William Sylvester) traveling from the Earth to the Moon, with a stop at the space station, is probably my favorite movie sequence of all time. It will always be what I think of when I hear the Blue Danube being played.

I was again reminded of the prescience of the movie by its depiction of seat-back TV screens (on the Orion spaceplane from Earth), earbuds (on the Aries shuttle to the Moon), and tablets (on the Discovery One spaceship). These accurate looks forward in technology are countered, however, by worse predictions for brands: Pan Am, the Bell System, and Howard Johnson’s – prominently depicted on the space station – had all but disappeared a decade before the real 2001 actually appeared on our calendars.

Still confused…

While it took me a number of years to get a grasp on the opening Early Man sequence, the end Star Child sequence still leaves me a bit unsure of what Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke are intending to say – although that may have been their intent.

Perhaps by the 65th anniversary there will be another Tice to drag to 2001… if move theaters still are around!

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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The new version of “It’s New to You!”

NBC "New to You" screenshotRemember NBC’s somewhat desperate attempt to get people to watch summer reruns in 1997, marked by the tagline “It’s new to you!”? We seem to be in a cycle of TV marked by the return of series popular in the original “It’s new to you” era. These include Will & Grace (debuted 1998), Roseanne (ended 1997), Murphy Brown (ended 1998), and now Mad About You (ran 1992-1999), all with their original casts mostly intact.

Let’s not forget other announced reboots from even earlier eras, such as ’80s stalwarts Magnum PI, Cagney and Lacey, and Miami Vice, which will offer some reimagings of the leads and series context (which raises the question of why reboot the familiar just to change it – but that’s another post).

The impetus for this reboot era could be attributable to a number of things. Renewed interest in these programs from exposure on streaming services; a new generation who’ve never seen them at all; the nostalgic appeal to cater to older viewers who are traditional TV stalwarts; and a cast still able to play their characters. And, to be brutally honest, I think a big factor in these current same-cast reboots is that the leads of these hit TV shows were very available because most of them never hit it big again (aside from John Goodman, and a few years in features for Helen Hunt).

It will be interesting to see how long this reboot bubble lasts before it bursts. Not every reboot will be successes on the level of Will & Grace or Roseanne, and the copycat tendency of television will move on to the next big idea.

Give the boot to the reboot

TV’s never been immune from reboots, whether it was the early days when many TV series were transplants of radio series, or the various revivals across the years like ADAM-12, Dallas, Dragnet, or Battlestar Galactica. But it seems few revivals result in long-term success.

In a world of TV – and theatrical movies – seemingly bereft of original ideas, long-term success will come out of original content. Viewers appreciate thinking outside the box even if it’s just a twist on an old trope or genre. It’s doable, even on broadcast TV – see The Blacklist, Empire, or This is Us in recent years – and ever more important as the audience is tempted away by edgy cable or SVOD original series.

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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Dave the Research Grouch: Recruiting isn’t Representativeness

Bloomberg View logoThe Research Grouch got a double whammy Monday morning. First, having seen the headline “We Are Finally Getting Better at Polls” on Bloomberg.com, I clicked right to the piece. Once there, however, I discovered it was a self-promoting opinion piece by a UK polling company. 

Already grouchy from feeling somewhat misled, the content of the piece ratcheted up the grouch level. The author discussed what he considered to be new, innovative ways to reach “representative” samples for polling. These new ways included using IM instead of email to reach out to respondents (OK, that makes sense); showing respondents how their responses sit against others taking the poll (debatable, especially if it’s raw instantaneous data); giving people surveys on topics they like in order to maintain interest (again, debatable); emotional testing rather than direct questions (not sure how this solves a sample issue); recruiting from non-political or non-news websites, or from social media (diversification of online recruiting does not create representativeness).

About the only indisputable point made in the piece is politically active people need to be recruited in their correct proportions to get the best data. If this is considered news to political pollsters in the UK, then no wonder they had issues predicting recent elections.

I may be a grouch but I’m not against innovation. These suggestions are certainly ways to potentially increase respondent engagement and diversify online sample sources. But, despite claims from online research firms everywhere, a volunteer opt-in online sample is by definition not representative regardless of panel size, recruitment techniques, weighting, or other manipulations.

Such samples may often give the same answers as a truly representative sample, but that doesn’t make them representative. Neither does the use of the terminology, such as response rates and error margins, lifted from traditional probability-based research and which really don’t apply to volunteer samples of any kind. A serious problem for this industry is that there is a whole generation of researchers that don’t realize this.

There really are probability-based online panels

I do recognize it’s a different world today than 20 years ago. Opt-in online samples are generally “good enough” for many applications, and I’ve used them myself many times. But, at least in the USA, there are sources of online access panels recruited using traditional probability techniques (including GfK’s KnowledgePanel, NORC’s AmeriSpeak, and RAND’s American Life panel) which are available for important research, whether political polls or key business decisions.

Yes, these panels are expensive compared to opt-in sample, but you get what you pay for – and as many pollsters, candidates, and businesses have found over the years, the most expensive research is bad research.

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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Friday Finds: “The Terror”

Friday Finds shares a piece of content I’ve recently discovered on broadcast, cable, or streaming TV.

Today’s find: The Terror
Genre: Hour period suspense/thriller
Origin: EMJAG Prods./Entertainment 360/Scott Free Prods.
Find it on: AMC, season 1 (10x)

The Terror posterBoasting a strong headlining cast of Jared Harris, Tobias Menzies, and Ciarán Hinds, AMC’s new series The Terror takes an unlikely setting – a Victorian expedition to the Arctic – and puts in motion a tale that appears to combine man against nature, and perhaps the supernatural.

The plot is based on the true story of the Terror and the Erebus. These two explorer ships from the Royal Navy were lost without a trace while trying to find the mythical Northwest Passage in 1848. The ships were finally discovered just a few years ago, in 2016, but their true story has been lost with their crews.

This series posits more sinister doings than just an ill-advised trip to the Arctic by overconfident Victorians. The series is anchored by a trio of experienced Britsh stars whose faces are likely more recognized than their names. Harris (Mad Men) plays Captain Crozier, whose caution on the expedition is ignored by expedition leader Sir John, played by Hinds (Rome, Game of Thrones). Menzies (Outlander) plays Fitzjames, an adventurer allied with Sir John, whom I think we’ll find out isn’t as brave as he likes to imply from his wardroom stories.

Despite its expanse, the Arctic is a suitable setting for this suspenseful thriller. Its unforgiving terrain and weather means any step off the ships can end badly, creating a sense of claustrophobia and constant dread. This Arctic effect has also worked well in films such as The Thing and Ice Station Zebra. Add in the potential for a supernatural menace stalking our intrepid crews and the suspense notches up even more.

Frozen thumbs up!

The first three episodes (a two-episode premiere and a regular hour) really caught my attention. While the story of two British ships stuck in the ice in the 1840s may not sound like everyone’s cup of tea, it should be worth your while to give it a taste.

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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Mister Rogers and Twitch: Didn’t see that coming

Twitch logoI have to say I’ve had a hard time getting my head around yesterday’s announcement that Amazon’s Twitch streaming service will start offering the full catalog of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood episodes. Twitch, best known as the place to watch over people’s virtual shoulders as they play videogames, seems just by its name to be the antithesis of Mister Rogers’ calm and  soothing demeanor. But perhaps that’s the point?

Mr Rogers' Neighborhood logoBeing well outside the demo for Twitch (probably by about 40 years!), I can’t speak to personal use; and my son is just a bit to old to have had Twitch around when he was into his teenage videogame phase. But what I do know about Twitch – aside from an audience size which gets marketers salivating and that prompted Amazon to buy it – is that along with acceptable content there have been issues both with content and with toxic behavior by the players it streams.

This isn’t the first time Twitch has “broadcast” a mellow callback to a simpler time. In 2015, it had a Bob Ross Joy of Painting marathon, which was well received by Twitch users. Again, Ross’ very mellow and deliberate delivery seems the antithesis to the constant action of most of the content on Twitch’s “channels.”

With the majority of Twitch users being under 35, the odds are that Twitch users watching Mister Rogers (or Bob Ross) are doing so more for ironic viewing or as sources for new memes – certainly the original target demo for Neighborhood was young children rather than young adults. But maybe there will be an appreciation among some of the viewers of not only Mister Rogers’ “be nice” philosophy, but of a media that was slower, kinder, and calmer than the often shrill and overly kinetic content seen today on TV, streaming, and social media.

Happy Birthday!

With his 90th birthday actually falling today, March 20, there is a groundswell of interest in Fred Rogers, 15 years after his death and 17 years after filming the last episode of his Neighborhood. I touched on this increase in interest in a post from early this year when one of a couple of new documentaries was announced, and later news includes a feature film in development starring Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers.

image of Tim Gunn in a sweater

Gunn even gets Rogers’ sweater look

Tom Hanks certainly seems to fits the persona of Mister Rogers. But after my previous post, I pondered who might be a “new” Mister Rogers (not that Fred could ever really be replaced, but you get the point). While Hanks did occur to me, I finally settled on Tim Gunn from Project Runway. He seems like such a nice person, he is always positive and supportive, and has empathy for others. Plus, as a bonus you get the inclusiveness angle that in today’s world, it’s perfectly acceptable that a gay man could step into a similar role as Mister Rogers.

Who would YOU suggest as a “new” Mister Rogers? Let us know in the comments section!

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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