The Cable Industry is Worried About Cord Cutters, When They Should Be Worried About Cord-Nevers

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It’s shocking to me how many 20-somethings don’t even own a TV, instead opting to watch everything on their computers, which half the time are 14-15 inch laptops. As a tech geek and an entertainment enthusiast, sure I watch a ton of TV and video on my computer, but it’s all casual stuff. Netflix streams, junky reality shows (the staple of the stay-at-home worker), but if it’s a show I love or a favorite movie, it’s the big screen or nothing. Apparently, though, I’m the odd duck with this new generation of young’uns.

The cable industry has been going head over heels finding ways to box people into keeping their cable, isolating online streams to those who register their account numbers, denying play even on paid services like Hulu Plus for weeks, and none of it does anything other than piss people off.

The people coming of age and getting their own places today have never really known a world without broadband internet where they can snag all their stuff for free, and a Hulu or Netflix subscription scratches their itch for something a little more substantial when they need it. If they don’t care about sports, then the impetus to order cable decreases fivefold, because without the need to see something live, an always-on TV feed becomes much less important, and the uptick in internet subscriptions while cable stays flat says is indicative of the fact that the loss of cable subscribers is only going to get worse when it comes time for today’s youth to settle down and subscribe, and they don’t.

A recent piece from The Consumerist covers this trend poignantly:

“These cord-never numbers matter more than the cable-cutters because the people who tend to not ever sign up for cable are young — and the youth is the future,” writes The Atlantic’s Rebecca Greenfield. “The broke twenty-somethings who survive off of Hulu, Netflix, bootleg streams of their favorite shows, and stealing each others’ HBO Go passwords now, might get used to a life without paying for cable, causing a generational shift in the way Americans consume things. That’s what the cable companies should worry about.”

Everyone knows that the “400 channels and nothing on” is on the endangered species list, but the real question is whether the big providers will go down with the ship, or be smart enough not to overload their channel-package lifeboats in a desperate attempt to stay relevant as something more than a bloated ISP. Let’s just hope that the channel diversity that the current system brings isn’t tossed overboard with the dead weight.

Via: [The Consumerist]

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