By Krishna Nadella
At 12:01am on August 1st, 1981, Music Television, aka MTV, was launched as a new channel kicking off with the music video for The Buggles, ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’. It was a seminal moment for the music industry but also a prophetic one. Society craves content, specifically visual content, and as such, the music industry would never be the same. Seeing WAS believing.
Fast-forward 35 years, ‘YouTube.com’ was activated on February 14, 2005 and the world of video content entered the digital age. All of a sudden, everyone could be a ‘Video Star’. But unlike many prognosticators who felt that digital content would single-handedly kill the newsprint industry, YouTube actually did the opposite for Television.
Content now had a much larger audience to cater to where television couldn’t (or wouldn’t) necessarily travel. I can’t even begin to recount the number of times my cousins in India would finally get access to American television shows from the 80’s…in the 90’s! Digital content leveled the playing field, removed the regionalism that divided the eastern and western hemispheres, and in the process, brought all of us as a society a little closer. In time, television networks began to take full advantage of leveraging online platforms to ensure that they provided their existing audiences as many ways as possible to view their content and in the process, grow their audiences as well. Even my own employer, Bloomberg L.P., provides tremendous online video content away from regularly scheduled programming on Bloomberg Television to enhance the viewer experience. In recent years, this has given rise to entire programs and series finding ‘life after television’ on the internet through platforms like Netflix (e.g. ‘Arrested Development’, ‘Fuller House’).
At the same time, the barriers to entry that used to serve as a deterrent for aspiring videographers and the like were also immediately removed. Content and programming no longer had to go through a formal vetting process and any idea that came to one’s mind could now be captured, posted and immediately reviewed by the larger public. Of course with no barriers whatsoever, this also led to the rise of anything and everything being posted for the world to see without filter. With that said, amongst all the noise was the ability for people to take risks and try out ideas without the fear of the proverbial ‘plug’ being pulled. So long as one could manage their costs, they could keep developing and producing their content, increasing their audience and make the appropriate adjustments real-time to stay relevant.
As the Host & Producer of STATE OF MIND, I consider myself fortunate to live in a time where I could develop a show that tackles the social, political and economic aspects of post-secondary education, both on YouTube and the Manhattan Neighborhood Network. Wrapping up our second season, we have been able to find a happy marriage between our online audience and our viewers on television. With more and more Millennials and Centennials looking to develop their own brands and create their own online identities, it is up to us as an industry to continue to embrace this new digital age and find those creative diamonds in the rough of content. Why? You may ask. It’s because like most things in life, the content that society puts out is a reflection of the one we live in.
-Krishna C. Nadella is the Host & Producer STATE OF MIND with Krishna C. Nadella