Pick up a copy of this week's New York magazine or check it out online here. Excellent reading pointing out some media trends to watch. Two feature stories grabbed me. One ("Up With Grups") legitimized my fashion and style sense, explaining how we 40-year olds still rock it in our 20-something gear. Even came up with an updated description of our Gen X selves: Grups (we Star Trekkers understand the reference). Also, how our Grup resistance to growing-up in the image of our Baby Boomer parents has helped close the generation gaps with our own children (we "Grups" do rock). On the worry side, though, if our teen kids form their own style opposite of their Grup 'rents, are we just creating a new generation of future Republican prep namby-pampbys?
The other feature article asks "Has America's seeming insatiable appetite for celebrity finally begun to cool?" Well, "maybe" it has. Kurt Anderson observes that many cultural barometers have pointed down lately (magazine circulation and subscription figures are down for many celeb mags; can anyone say oversaturation?). Meanwhile, the gossip mags (like the Enquirer) are also down. Ratings on TV are down, too. Interestingly, all the recent market research we do at Joint Communications shows that the demand trend for enternatinment news and gossip is way down and among the weakest of programming items. People magazine -- launched in 1974 -- is considered the epicenter for today's modern celebrity watching; sales are also down.
Have we finally reached the down-curve of celebrity gawking the likes of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Anniston and hundreds of other so-called pop-culture stars? One can only hope. As Anderson says:
"The Nielsen ratings for this year’s Oscars were down 8 percent, and for the Grammys 11 percent. During the last half of 2005, the Enquirer’s newsstand sales were down by a quarter and Entertainment Weekly’s by 30 percent. The American OK! is said to be unwell, the magazine Inside TV was launched and killed last year, and a magazine called Star Shop was killed before it launched. Like other American social tides, the fascination with celebrities has been cyclical, and after several decades of rising (as it also did from the twenties through the forties), perhaps it will now (as in the sixties) ebb."
Meanwhile, I'll be waiting for Grup-favorite FHM's April 4th issue featuring the newly-annointed "Sexiest Woman in the World" Scarlett Johansson...
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Tuesday, March 28, 2006,