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Why old shows are seeing new life on TikTok

I’ve noticed a trend recently where old TV shows are becoming popular again after being cut up and serialized on TikTok.

When we see nostalgic content, I don’t think we’re closing our app and going to watch the show right away, but there is a halo effect from seeing it over and over. New generations are seeing these shows for the first time, and they’re being introduced to old TV, online communities and fan accounts. For a lot of these younger generations, it’s something entirely new and even though these shows aired years ago, the content feels fresh.

If I’m Paramount, Netflix, or MTV, I’m rethinking my digital strategy entirely. I’d hire a team to create dummy TikTok accounts, post a whole bunch of serialized seasons, and engage with existing fan accounts directly. Amplifying new and existing accounts is a good use of the marketing budget knowing how big reach is on TikTok. I have seen Paramount do this with Mean Girls, but I think others should be doing the same.

Reality TV in particular is in a unique place because some of the shows or formats still exist today. American Idol is a perfect example. The next season is coming in 2024, leading up to the premiere I’d start dropping serialized seasons, get material to fan accounts, and lean in on TikTok trends. It’s hard to measure exactly how much social and earned media gets you, but to me someone under the age of 20 referencing a show that aired before they were born is a huge win for older networks.

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