The End of the Family Friendly Media Company

The End of the Family Friendly Media Company

Eytan Elbaz

Yesterday, Viacom publicly announced a partnership with SnapChat. Viacom - whose biggest and most well known assets include Nickelodeon and MTV are now putting up content and selling ads on SnapChat, a social network that grew out of a need for people to share content that they were sensitive to being stored or archived (e.g. NSFW, sexting, etc.). Even as SnapChat evolved towards Stories and a Discover area where the brands live, users are still never more than a friend approval away from a barrage of dick pics.

Meanwhile, the largest investor in Vice Media is now Disney - the company best known for Mickey Mouse and Disneyland. Disney, via their $400M investment in Vice are now indirectly the backers of Vice's new cable TV Shows including "Balls Deep", "Weediquette", and "F*CK, that's Delicious.”

Four years ago, Yahoo! would not syndicate advertisements to news sites which covered topics like drugs, guns, and alcohol. Today, those subjects are the news, and Yahoo’s ads are now available to be broadly syndicated to most news sites.

Could you have imagined any of this just five years ago?

The viewing habits of the young demographic evolved very quickly. YouTube, Facebook, and Snapchat quickly democratized the consumption of online content, such that the most shareable, interesting-to-you stories are presented in your news feed. A very large percentage of the content that millennials are now viewing could have never lived on Disney properties or a Yahoo! home page.

The media landscape has changed dramatically. “Brand Safe” is getting redefined. Traditional media companies can no longer ignore the tidal wave of content that was previously considered off limits.

We will continue to see many more deals in the media landscape from strange bedfellows; it just shouldn’t surprise us going forward.

In what ways do you think the industry will continue to evolve?