Millennials and technology are an unstoppable duo. After all, this generation was the first to grow up with digital marvels such as the internet, smartphones and social media, meaning technology is embedded in their DNA. As natives of this space, they are constantly innovating the way we use technology in our daily lives.
The latest Millennial movement? Cutting the cord.
Cord-cutting is the removal of cable television to use alternate streaming services. This has been the latest craze ever since tech powerhouses such as, Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu entered the game. While cable providers, like DIRECTV and Comcast, offer bundled packages to entice buyers, younger generations aren’t buying into the propaganda. In fact, 61% of young adults prefer to use streaming services rather than cable television for their viewing needs.
The shift from cable television to online streaming should be of no surprise to traditional cable providers. Millennials have always been captivated by the internet – living mobile lifestyles, becoming web experts, and sharing everything (from their moods to their dinner) on social media. This makes online streaming a natural choice for Millennials, as it’s consistent with their preferred methods of media consumption. But that’s not the only reason so many are gravitating towards streaming.
Online streaming companies are giving cable providers a serious run for their money. Netflix, Amazon and Hulu all offer streaming subscriptions at (or close to) $8 per month. Traditional cable, on the other hand, can start at $30-50 per month, with additional charges for location, services, and packages. With cable prices rising, it’s no wonder why Millennials are attracted to cheaper streaming options. Cable companies are trying to keep up by offering a so-called “skinny package” that bundles internet and television plans together. While these packages interest consumers searching for an all-in-one option, it still lacks the level of customizability and mobility that streaming has to offer.
Personalized content attracts Millennials. Streaming services enable viewers to quickly select and watch (or binge – we’ve all been there) a wide assortment of shows that cater to their interests. For instance, when someone finishes a program on Netflix or Hulu, a list is generated that suggests similar programs. This “Recommended for You” automation uses the viewer history to make suggestions, and in turn, eliminates the need for an extended search.
Cable television lacks the same level of customization. While most cable packages offer a variety of channels, every user experience is the same. Without customization, viewers can find themselves looking through an entire TV guide before blindly landing on a program they may not even like. It becomes more of manual, timely process. While this used to be the norm for entertainment selection, Millennials now have the option to avoid the process altogether with streaming.
Streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon, produce their own content on a regular basis. In fact, Netflix plans to spend more than $7 billion building original content in 2018. All of this content creation is ideal for viewers who like to watch more than one show in one sitting, also known as “binging.” By releasing entire seasons at a time, streaming services encourage this type of extended watching. People who find themselves binging programs can ultimately lose sleep to the fixation. In fact, Netflix’s CEO, Reed Hastings, has said that their biggest competitor is sleep itself. “You know, think about it, when you watch a show from Netflix and you get addicted to it, you stay up late at night. We’re competing with sleep, on the margin,” said Hastings. While Netflix may be competing with sleep, Millennials relentlessly continue to binge their favorite programs at a consistent (and sleep-deprived) rate.
Cable, on the other hand, releases one episode of a show per week. This means a lot of waiting and zero possibility for binging. Furthermore, cable television plays programs that are network-specific. This could be a dilemma if viewers are hoping to watch a certain program, yet don’t have the channel included in their cable package. The strict schedule and exclusive channel listing involved with cable is unattractive to Millennials who seek programs at the click of a button.
The Future of Streaming
Streaming has changed the way we consume media, and in turn, is forcing traditional cable providers to rethink the way they do business. Streaming companies like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu have a bright future ahead. By offering affordable, customized, and immediate entertainment, streaming services have beautifully molded to the lifestyle demands of the Millennial generation.
Millennials and online streaming – another inevitable duo.