Cartoons and funny videos are the new face of entertainment. Once dismissed as fodder only for children, more and more adults are watching cartoons now than ever before
Spurred on by the rise of YouTube and other online video streaming sites, people have begun sharing funny videos and cartoons by the boatload.
Finding good online repositories for animated content is easier said than done. However, if you look hard enough, you can always find one that suits your needs and requirements. Apart from the questionable legality of using peer to peer sites and downloading cartoons over services like BitTorrent, you can find places to watch cartoons legally. Video streaming sites often host cartoons along with other traditional content for users to consume. While it has taken adult audiences some time, especially in the west, they are now seriously considering animated media as real sources of entertainment and storytelling.
Previously, animation was the domain of the kids’ content. While Japanese animation was available with content that was targeted at adults, many often too complicated and indeed, unsuitable, for children, it was a very niche culture. The animated media subculture however grew as traditional media began to realise the value of material that was locked in comic books and other non-traditional forms of media. Spurred on by the prospective commercial value of superheroes, the search for material to exploit for movies and other investments included cartoons as well. And thus cartoons were brought into the mainstream in a big way.
While much remains to be done, cartoons for adults is seeing a resurgence in western media not because there has been a spike in demand but because studios are beginning to see the arrival of the nostalgia brigade. The economically empowered generation now is the one that consumed the first generation of cartoons in their childhood. By bringing cartoons back again, they are able to use that nostalgia to great effect. This has not been done before and we are in uncharted territory here.
We have already seen how rumours of new seasons of cartoons that ended their runs 10 or 15 years ago are met with: unbridled enthusiasm and relentless theorising about how the story will go and which direction it will take. Such kind of cultural engagement has been rarely seen from adults until now. This marks a tectonic shift in how marketing works. Culture always moves in a cycle and we are at the beginning of the next big cycle. “Retro” and “old school cool” are coming back in a big way as the new generation that saw the rise of technology also experienced technology become ubiquitous. They are in effect the first and only generation that saw an entire new form of technology being born and mature in front of their eyes. They are not as obsessed with technology as their younger generation is, but at the same time they are deeply engaged with it. They are the last generation that has any semblance of a pre-digital world or a pre-electronics world. And that plays a huge part in how marketing and culture works.
Cartoons are coming back because their audiences have come back, i.e. gained relevance. And we certainly hope that they hang around long enough for the younger kids to enjoy.
Western media is beginning to take Cartoons seriously after a very long time. What started with the broadcast of funny videos on television has now snowballed into a whole new genre. People watch Funny videos on YouTube now instead of television and the generation with an emotional connection to cartoons has gained economic relevance.