Millennials have been “cutting the cord” at an alarming rate, trading in their cable TV boxes and turning toward online streaming services to watch their favorite shows and movies. According to a recent report published by Verizon, a whopping 64% of Millennials would rather stream content through an online subscription-based platform than through typical broadcast television.
I Don’t Want My MTV
A separate study outlined by TechHive reports that roughly one quarter of Gen Y consumers do not currently have cable, 46% of whom never had it in the first place. The rest all cut their cords after realizing cable couldn’t provide the type of personalized viewing experience they craved. Meanwhile, nearly 60% of U.S. households pay for a subscription-based video-on-demand service, with Netflix being the most popular, followed by Amazon Instant Video then Hulu Plus.
So what is it about streaming content that’s stealing Millennials away from cable companies? According to Jared Newman of TechHive, “[c]onvenience, fewer commercials, and the ability to watch on their own schedule were all cited more often as the main reason to stream.”
Just a Click Away
Millennials grew up in a world where everything from clothing to groceries to clean laundry was available at the click of a button. Why would members of the “on-demand” generation choose to wait for their favorite show to air on cable when they could watch it anywhere, at any time? Add to that the fact that 40% of cable subscribers rate their customer service experience “fair” or worse, whereas 76% say they’re satisfied with what’s available online, and you spell “disaster” for big-name cable providers.
Apparently the only thing keeping basically anyone tethered to the cable box is sports: according to TechHive, 50% of subscribers say sports are important to their viewing habit vs. 26% of non-subscribers. Given Millennial disdain for the NFL and organized sports in general, that’s not exactly promising news.
Cable providers have been trying desperately to cater their services to Millennials’ unique viewing habits, but to little avail. Kelly Gilblom of “Standard Examiner” explains that while “[m]ost networks now offer some programming for free on their websites,” most of that programming can be found elsewhere online, negating any incentive to subscribe.
And while Verizon’s combined Internet-and-cable packages have reportedly been “wildly successful,” it’s the added bonus of getting a free HBO subscription with their package deal that’s encouraging Millennials to buy-in. So when networks like Showtime and HBO eventually roll out their standalone streaming services (HBO Now launched in April 2015), it could be the final nail in the coffin for cable TV as we know it.
The Bottom Line
Millennials expect more, and they want it when they want it (as in now)… and they want it for less money. Makes sense to us.