As the product of two baby boomers, I am a millennial. I am also a cord cutter. I own a smart TV and pay Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu a monthly fee to stream their content instead of paying for traditional cable. According to research by Parks & Associates, this makes me part of the 25% of millennial-led households that are OTT-only, meaning that we prefer not to carry a traditional cable or satellite subscription, in favor of streaming-only viewing options (the national average is 15%). We millennials continue to move away from paying for traditional cable in favor of OTT services, and operators can rest assured that once millennials do cut the cord, the chances of our returning to traditional cable is slim to none. Here’s why:
This was my initial motivation to cut the cord. Going OTT-only just makes sense since I save a ton of money. I already pay for high-speed internet, so adding an additional $30/month for Netflix/Disney/Amazon Prime is a no-brainer when compared to the minimum hundred-plus bucks per month that I’d be charged by traditonal cable. Do I really want to pay more than $1k/year for cable just so I can watch live sports and local news? Definitely not. NFL Game Pass ($99.99/year) combined with MLB TV ($114.99/year) satisfies all of my sporting needs (the NBA’s app is free). For live news, I just turn to social media or my local station’s mobile app.
Content is one of, if not the most important part of any OTT offering. The original content produced by the Netflix, Hulu and Amazon is what my friends and coworkers want to watch, talk about, and look forward to watching after work – not a repeat of Everybody Loves Raymond. Our favorite shows like House of Cards, Breaking Bad, Orange is the new Black, Game of Thrones, etc. have no commercials (which can be poorly targeted, uninteresting, etc) and are uncensored. It’s unique content that pushes the envelope and simply doesn’t exist on traditional cable.
When I’m done watching something or just looking for something new to watch, my OTT platforms are not so great at recommending new content for me. Tey make it easy to keep new content flowing but recommendations seem to always miss the mark.
Binge-watching at our leisure is the new way we millennials watch TV. Collins Dictionary even declared “binge-watch” the word of the year for 2015. Binge-watching has in fact become so normal that when my friends ask me to suggest a show for them to watch, they’re not asking me to recommend one 30-minute show, they’re asking me what entire series they should binge watch. This is the new normal. Millennial or not, I’m sure most of us regardless of age demographic can identify with how this has become the new way that we prefer to consume content – something that is hard to do with traditional cable.
I want to watch what I want, when and where I want. Difficult navigation, video start failures, non-seamless experiences across platforms (I watch on my smart TV at home, then pick back up on my daily commute on public transportation) are unacceptable these days, and if I experience this I simply bounce to a different platform. My overall impression of the service gets a major downgrade. This may be a bit presumptuous, but this is reality and OTT providers have to cater accordingly if they want to keep millennials happy.
The fact is that we millennials are a massive demographic. We’re earning more money now, cutting the cord faster than anyone else, and many of us won’t ever return to traditional cable.