Friday, February 10, 2012

Gen Y and the Future of TV

New research on Gen Y media behaviors suggest a shift to wanting more control over their television viewing.  The study, from Ideas & Solutions! Inc. sought to determine whether the recent increase in cord-cutting (dropping traditional TV delivery systems in favor of using the Internet as a source for TV programming) was a result of the weak economy, or if it indicated a shift in audience attitudes about TV viewing preferences.  The study suggested that Gen Y members (those born between 1980 and 1995) tended to fall into one of four groups.
  1. Loyalists - those who like and are satisfied with current program delivery systems.  Fans of bundling, they like having all of their viewing options available from one source, and aren't likely to become cord-cutters absent a major change.  About a third of Gen Y seems to fall in this category.
  2. Leaners - this group, while remaining tied to traditional TV outlets, have at least considered the possibility of switching to an alternative TV delivery mechanism, whether by shifting from bundled program delivery to a la carte subscriptions or by programming delivered through the net.  The researchers felt that compared to Loyalists, they seemed more interested in convenience and control than costs or added features.  This group currently accounts for 29% of Gen Y audiences.
  3. At Risk - accounting for 28% of the Gen Y audience, this segment has given serious consideration to cord-cutting.  They strongly prefer the control over programming that a la carte and IPTV television delivery offers.  They already watch video programming online, and are likely to have tablets, WiFi, and subscriptions to Netflix.  They're also more likely to view cable or DBS as a luxury and are sensitive to cost increases.
  4. Nonsubscribers - one in five Gen Y's fall into this category, and consist of those who currently don't pay for television services.  This segment can be further broken down into two groups - Evaders (those who have never purchased cable or DBS multichannel services, and Defectors, who have had paid TV subscriptions in the past, but have dropped those services.  For both, the driving issue is whether they feel the costs outweigh the benefits they're likely to gain from having access to multichannel video services.  A significant portion of Evaders simply don't see much value in television programming.
Going beyond the numbers the report suggest a couple of other aspects that differentiate Gen Y audiences - first, that they're more aware of, and comfortable with, alternative video programming options, and second, that their viewing behaviors are less habitual, and focus more on the relationship between the cost of accessing programming and the anticipated benefits gained from watching the program.  The are also more likely to value having a greater range of choices in how, where, and when they watch TV (although this is valued highest by people in the Leaning and At Risk segments.
  The study also found that those in the At Risk category were open to the idea that the implementation of the "TV Everywhere" concept could bring the level of customizability and control currently missing in multichannel and broadcast systems.
As one respondent observed, TV Everywhere "sounds like the link between the Internet and TV that I’ve been looking for.”
At the very least, the results of this study suggest that cable TV and DBS marketers shouldn't continue their old view of passive audiences and marketing themselves with the traditional "it's TV with more channels" focus. As the report indicates, “Engagement strategies must be carefully tested because young consumer desires aren’t necessarily in line with business (models) of subscription-based pay TV companies today.”

Source - Gen Y's Latest Trend: Cord CuttingTVNewsCheck

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