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Millennials Crave Choice, Fewer Ads

NEW YORK — There are a range of ways to engage millennials, from providing more mobility to lightening ad loads to empowering customers with more choices for content and advertising.

Those were the takeways offered by several top media executives at the Paley Center for Media’s 2015 Paley International Council Summit here. Mobility has been a hotbutton issue for months, and Major League Baseball president of Business and Media Bob Bowman said it is key to attracting millennials to networks. “All we know is that if it’s not on a mobile device, it’s not going to matter,” Bowman said.

Sports has been one of the programming business’s few constants, mainly because viewers have to watch it live. Turner Broadcasting System president David Levy said while that is still the case — “Nobody watches the Super Bowl on Monday” — new sports are also attracting both digital and traditional audiences.

Turner recently bought into the eSports business – it plans to launch a new Counter Strike: Global Offensive league in partnership with WME/IMG that will air weekly on TBS next year.

Earlier, 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch called for more creative advertising and softer ad loads — adding that traditional networks could take a cue from the gaming industry, which offers players the choice of paying for a feature upgrade or watching a short ad.

“The fear is around empowering customers,” Murdoch said. “If we tell customers this is how we value your time, they step up right away.”