Have you noticed that more and more of your Millennial (or at least young) friends are cutting the cable cord? Fewer and fewer people are subscribing to cable channels. In fact, while 90% of all households once had a television, that number is even starting to drop. There are a lot of reasons why people are getting rid of cable, especially for those who fall in the 18 to 34 age demographic. Even some older people have dropped their cable subscription after looking at other options. Here are some reasons why Millennials are willing cutting the cable cords and what they’re doing to continue watching their favorite shows.
• Watch Popular Shows: Binge watching has become so popular that people subscribe to these services simply to watch the entire series within a few weeks. There’s no other way to watch some of these shows, especially the older series that aren’t shown in reruns or aren’t easy to find on DVD. Then there’s the cost: buying six or seven seasons on DVD is much more expensive than subscribing to Netflix or another service. Many services are working with studios to make older shows available on their streaming services, some of which haven’t aired in years.
• It saves money: Cable costs continue to rise. Even basic cable packages are more than $50 now, and while some companies do offer special introductory pricing, that offer only lasts a year or so. Then there are all the premium add-on channels. Young people have more expenses than ever, especially those who are starting families and buying their first home. They don’t have the money to spend on expensive cable packages. While the math varies depending on which streaming packages you get and what level of access you opt for, you can save upwards of $400 or more a year by cutting cable and switching to subscription services.
• They’re using online streaming services: Now-a-days, many streaming services allow people to watch TV online and stream movies whenever and wherever they want. The small monthly fees, even for several of these services, don’t come close to a cable subscription. These on-demand services allow people to binge watch entire seasons of shows within a few days, something cable simply can’t offer. Many also include brand new episodes the day after they air live, so there’s not even much of a delay.
• Use Online Technologies: Younger people love their phones, tables, Smart TVs, gaming consoles, and computers. People who stream movies and TV shows through one of these devices are much more likely to have cut the cable cords than those who don’t. More than 65% of all Millennial use their computers to view media, so it’s no surprise that cable is losing customers. Younger people are now saying that their smartphones are the device they simply can’t live without—they would go without a TV first.
• Watch TV: People want to watch what they want when they want it. Today’s busy schedules mean that being tied to the TV at certain times of the day is no longer practical. Families have a number of different things pulling them in all different directions, and even single people often don’t have the time to sit down and watch a show when it airs. By being able to watch TV on the go on their phones or laptop, they can catch up on their favorite shows whenever they have a free moment. They can even watch part of an episode and finish the rest later. Its TV the way you want it, and that resonates with today’s younger generations who are always on the go. Cable, on the other hand, may appear wasteful—there are dozens of channels that people get with their subscription that they never watch. It feels like they’re paying for things they never use.
• Fewer Commercials: While this isn’t always a major factor, it is an added bonus for those who cut the cable cords and go streaming. Some services such as Hulu do show commercials during their programming, but they are often shorter or fewer of them. Other services like Netflix are commercial free. For those who do not want to sit through ads, streaming is the perfect solution. There’s no worry about missing part of the show for a snack break, either. Instead of waiting for a commercial, simply pause the program.
• Streaming Services: Streaming services are offering original programming now, and it’s good. NetFlix has had a number of hits with their original shows, including Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, and their slate of shows based on Marvel Comics characters. Hulu and Amazon Prime have both launched their own series, with Hulu even saving some shows that were canceled. This shows that streaming companies are more likely to listen to what viewers want instead of making decisions based on ratings. With all of the hype around these shows and the fact that they are being recognized with awards has people subscribing simply to watch these series.
• Instant Access: More and more younger people are growing up in houses without cable, and it’s highly unlikely that they will make the move to cable after living in a house where their TV needs were instantly met. The idea that you would have to wait for a show to air and then sit through several sets of commercials is going to be a foreign concept to younger generations, and it may be enough to kill cable completely.
If you’ve never had cable before, you may wonder if you’re missing something. Millennial and others who have cut the cable, however, will quickly tell you that you’re not. While traditional television still has many viewers, most are among the older generations. However, there is something special about watching a program live, especially when you don’t want to read spoilers online. For now, traditional TV isn’t going anywhere.
Are you streaming only, or do you still have cable? Which is the better option for you? We’d love to know what you think!