Skip Navigation
Oklahoma State University

Younger generation prefers watching TV shows from the past, Spears research shows

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Dr. Andy Luse and Spears Business undergraduate Sierra Steelman collaborated on a peer-reviewed journal article that has been accepted for publication.

In a rare occurrence for an undergraduate, an Oklahoma State University student and an associate professor in the Department of Management Science and Information Systems (MSIS) have collaborated on a peer-reviewed journal article that has been accepted for publication.

Sierra Steelman, a sophomore in the Spears School of Business majoring in management information systems, and Dr. Andy Luse collaborated on the research paper, “This Isn’t Your Parent’s TV Show … Oh Wait, It Is” that will be published in Drake Management Review.

Steelman began working with Luse as part of OSU’s Freshman Research Scholar program last year when he asked her to help analyze research he had been accumulating since 2014. Since then, Luse, a serious fan of television, has been getting to know his students better in class by asking them what their favorite television shows were and recording their responses.

He was surprised by their answers. The popular belief is that 15- to 22-year-olds prefer to watch “Stranger Things,” “Game of Thrones" or “The Vampire Diaries.” Luse said he believed that the current generation of students frown on old stuff, whether it’s games, books, technology, movies or TV shows. The prevailing thought is that this generation prefers all things new.

"This research collaboration between a veteran MIS researcher and a talented college freshman illustrates how committed our faculty are to all students, not just in the classroom but also in developing new potential researchers."

Dr. Rick Wilson

Steelman, from Vinita, Oklahoma, told the OSU faculty member that she disagreed, and the research proved her right.

“I’m not really the type of person who will say, ‘You’re wrong about that,’” she said. “I figured if that’s his initial thought then there are probably a lot of other people who must agree, even though I know that it’s wrong.”

Instead, Luse was shocked that the television viewing habits of undergrad students over the seven-year period included shows popular in the 1980s and ’90s like “Friends,” “The Office” and “Seinfeld.”

“It just amazes me what they’re watching. The shows they’re watching, we’re getting to the point now that it was off the air before they were even born,” said Luse, who points out that the ninth and final season of “Seinfeld” came to an end in May 1998.

Data from Luse and Steelman’s research shows that younger generations prefer older content, which is counter to prevailing thought. The research also suggests that this generation’s preference for old TV shows is only growing stronger over time providing interesting results for online content providers.

Using answers from 318 OSU students from 2014 to 2020, Steelman gathered data from each TV show that students listed as their favorite. She used that data to determine if a show was current or not at the time it was collected.

Results show that over the first four semesters that Luse collected data, between 65 and 80 percent of students said their favorite TV show was a current program. But between 2016 and 2019, the percentage was 50-50 current vs. non-current. By spring 2020, 75 percent of the students listed an older TV show as their favorite.

Steelman and Luse teamed up to write the paper for the Midwest Association of Information Systems (MWAIS) regional conference, and they were then asked to expand it and submit to a journal, with the added help of MSIS faculty member Jim Burkman, where it was accepted for publication in Drake Management Review.

“This research collaboration between a veteran MIS researcher and a talented college freshman illustrates how committed our faculty are to all students, not just in the classroom but also in developing new potential researchers,” said Dr. Rick Wilson, professor and head of the Department of Management Science and Information Systems.

“Dr. Luse magnanimously gave of his time to help develop Ms. Steelman’s talent, and it is indeed rare to find a college freshman with a peer-reviewed article. He chose to help a developing talent, while putting some of his own, more visible projects on the backburner. Andy and Sierra should be applauded for going the extra mile on this research endeavor. This is what the college experience is all about.” 

Steelman says her first serious research experience has piqued her interest.

“I’m definitely more interested,” said Steelman, who attended the Information Systems Technology for High School Students (ISYTE) camp, hosted by the OSU MSIS department, in the summer of 2016. “I’m still not really sure how to get into it, but I’m looking forward to learning more about research and its impact in the next few years. It’s a chance to share my knowledge and my expertise with everybody else. I have a lot of questions and I know a lot of other people have questions, so if I have the answers, I would want to share that with others.”

CONTACT: Terry Tush | Director, Marketing and Communications | 405-744-2703 | terry.tush@okstate.edu

Article Tags:
blog comments powered by Disqus