Children Are Leading The Cord Cutting Revolution

from the mikey-doesn't-like-it dept

The cable industry has long pretended that the cord cutting phenomenon either isn’t real or that the only people cutting the cord are aging losers living in their parents’ basement. Of course when you actually look at the data, while cord cutting remains a slow but growing phenomenon, most of the cord cutters are young, highly educated, employed, and make a good amount of money. As it turns out, you’ll be surprised to note these folks are having children — and these children are also starting to prefer on demand, a la carte services like Netflix instead of traditional cable.

For a few years now data has shown that Netflix is really eating the lunch of channels like Nickelodeon, given that toddlers in particular don’t really care if they’re watching the latest and greatest “True Detective” episode or not, and time shifting is important for parents on hectic schedules. A new research note from Bernstein Research notes that not only is viewership down for both cable and over the air broadcasts (8 and 9%, respectively, for the week of November 17 through 23), but it’s dropping significantly for children’s programming, which saw a 12% drop during that same period.

The numbers get worse quarter over quarter, where kid’s programming saw a 15% drop. In fact the only growing cable viewership audience that week was the predominately-older Fox News audience, which had tuned in to Fox’s live Ferguson coverage. Kids and parents, in contrast, just want the simplest, most enjoyable content experience on their own terms:

“A 5-year-old is probably less concerned with seeing the latest Spongebob Squarepants, compared to just reruns of that show,” said Brett Harriss, a media analyst at Gabelli & Company. Nickelodeon and Disney Channel viewership fell 25% and 24% respectively, according to the Bernstein report. “For kids’ programming it’s a unique audience. They’re not loyal to any network or channel. It’s platform-agnostic,” said Amy Yong, an analyst at Macquarie Capital USA Inc.”

Of course these kids aren’t going to stay young forever, and when they grow up, paying Comcast $150 a month for an ocean of awful reality TV programs and infomercials is going to seem as backward to them as drilling holes in the heads of the mentally ill to let the demons out.

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Comments on “Children Are Leading The Cord Cutting Revolution”

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82 Comments
Violynne (profile) says:

The cable industry has long pretended that the cord cutting phenomenon either isn’t real…
Of course it isn’t real.

It’s impossible to enjoy many online services without a cable account.

Despite HBO Go’s detachment from the norm, chances are, the service will fail because other services demand the cable requirement, so there’s no reason to pay for both services.

Even those who want to be cord cutters can’t legally view everything they want without cable.

AMC doesn’t offer the recent season of The Walking Dead without cable.

So yeah, the cable industry is correct in its assumption and you can bet Hollywood isn’t going to throw Netflix a bone within our lifetime.

That’s what monopolies do to people.

RadioactiveSmurf (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I have found though that seeing the latest episode of anything isn’t a big deal anymore. We never talk about tv shows at work anymore becuase nobody watches the same shows, in the same way, at the same time. So if i see the “new” season of the walking dead a year later, then so what? I still enjoy it and haven’t missed out on anything.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I have found though that seeing the latest episode of anything isn’t a big deal anymore.

The only time I’ve had issue with it is when others are discussing what happened in the latest episode. Spoilers are still a big issue. However, that hasn’t been much of a problem for me lately because I spoiled the hell out of them talking about the latest episode of Game of Thrones because I had already read the books (not that the show is remaining true to the books.) People stopped talking spoilers around me since.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

There’s only so high you can price something before people decide it’s no longer worth the bother though.

Certain shows may require a cable connection, but as the cost to have one gets higher and higher, as it always has, more and more people are going to decide that the cost is just too much, and drop cable.

Paying $60+ for a season of a show is already an iffy proposition, as you could buy the DVD/Blu-ray version of it(which has the added benefit of allowing you to watch it whenever, wherever) at the store for that price, as the price inches up towards $70, 80 or higher, the value of the cable version will decrease, and ultimately hinge on just how much someone has to watch a show as soon as it’s aired.

Dave Xanatos (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Even those who want to be cord cutters can’t legally view everything they want without cable.

For those of us who don’t suffer from the copyright lobotomy, the world is a beautiful place without cable. In fact, most of the legal services you point to are unwatchable if you’re used to pirated versions. Ads, incompatible apps, drm… Even Netflix, which I have a subscription for, is a less enjoyable experience than XBMC+torrented shows. I keep Netflix around as a useful discovery tool, and a more portable option than XBMC(oops, I mean Kodi).

My kids don’t remember what it was like to have cable. When they watch away from home, commercials are a novelty that quickly wear thin.

There are only a handful of shows that are even worth paying for at all, and none worth $70+/month. If watching for free wasn’t an option, I’d still go without. I’ve even given up my addiction to evening soap operas (AKA professional sports).

Dave Xanatos (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

So the only legitimate options are ones you approve of? Weird way to frame a discussion. Right now, the most consumer friendly option is infringement. It doesn’t have to be that way. I’d pay for quality digital downloads. I stopped buying dvd’s when I realized how wasteful it was to just rip them and stick them in a box somewhere. I think with your system the harm to the environment is more reprehensible than copyright infringement.

But I’m not going to dismiss your method as not ‘legitimate’.

JEDIDIAH says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Standing the test of time.

There’s nothing wasteful about a DVD shoved in a box. It’s definitive proof of purchase. It’s always at your disposal. That’s something you will NEVER have for any sort of “streaming” service.

Physical media has a lifetime that exceeds any of these digital services. Some of them have come and gone while my media (and copies of it) remains usable.

“environmental harm” is the last thing someone brings up when they are losing this kind of argument. It’s a sort of bizarre grasping at straws that ignores the same aspect of other alternatives.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Standing the test of time.

“There’s nothing wasteful about a DVD shoved in a box.”

You may think that way, I think that way, but that doesn’t mean that Dave thinks that way. He may be one of those consumers that watches things once or twice and moves on to the next thing. I know quite a few people like that. They will enjoy the old stuff if it happens to be available, but they have no attachment to it. I know a guy who will watch The Princess Bride every single chance he gets, but he just doesn’t buy the DVD.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Standing the test of time.

The long lifetime of DVDs (and Blue-Ray and of course HD-DVD) is only real if you take the time and effort to defeat the DRM and make a backup.

Granted, I haven’t had my DVD collection stolen yet, but I’ve had two music collections stolen. Physical media’s effective lifetime has been very short indeed. A file with the DRM removed and an off-site backup or two is the ONLY thing I consider “long lifetime.”

Pirate, so long as you also purchase.

Dave Xanatos (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Standing the test of time.

There’s nothing wasteful about a DVD shoved in a box.

Everything about that dvd stored somewhere in a box is wasteful. Compared to a digital equivalent:

It was a waste to print it.
It was a waste to warehouse it.
It was a waste to ship it to the store.
It was a waste to drive to the store and buy it (or have it delivered.)
It was a waste of time to defeat the DRM, and using illegal tools, rip it to my hard drive.
It is a waste of space to store it. And finally…
It is ultimately going to be a waste of space in a landfill or a waste of energy to recycle what shouldn’t have been made in the first place.

It’s definitive proof of purchase.

There are much more efficient ways to store a proof of purchase.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Why should we limit the conversation to legitimate* options only? Why not talk about what people are willing to do, and actually doing? It’s a reality and denying reality tends to end badly.

*by “legitimate” I’m assuming you simply mean “legal” as focusing simply on replacing only the shows on cable and ignoring the many, many other content sources would be idiotic.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Not all torrenting involves piracy, you know. There are lots of totally legitimate torrents out there.

And there is “legitimate” reasons to pirate too.

If you purchase a DVD from a vendor that is damaged or doesn’t play properly, you have a very limited number of legal options. You could return the DVD to the vendor and hope that they will allow you to exchange it for a working copy, or return it to the publisher, if they have a paid replacement policy (I’ve had some success with that, but it is extremely rare,) or you could go without even though you already paid. You might be able to sue the publisher for failure to fulfill their end of the bargain, but that gets expensive and the outcome isn’t assured.

I get real tired of buying stuff and having it not work…which seems to happen an awful lot lately. And unlike other commercial products, which allow you to return them if they don’t work for full refund, software and media tend to not be allowed to be returned even when there is a problem.

I don’t torrent for piracy, but I can certainly see why people would want to in order to obtain what they paid for and what the publisher has failed to provide.

Violynne (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Such as?

Here’s the situation: my wife is the TV watcher of the home (I stopped watching TV a decade ago).

I’ve asked her to keep an eye out for shows she likes in the current season online, to give me an idea if we can drop cable.

So far, the answer is “no”. Sites like AMC are out for streaming, as well as the “Big 3” who believe streaming is a revenue killer without 20 minutes of ads for every half hour programming. Big Bang Theory? LOL. Right.

What you deem as “viewable” isn’t what most of the Neilsen ratings deem as viewable.

I’m glad what you watch is available at your convenience, but if cable-cutting is to gain any traction, it’s going to be important to make the current showings available, not something that’s been out for a while.

AMC’s Walking Dead is a good indication where the problem exists: it’s all about the ad dollars because content and advertising are not the same damn thing.

If it were, then AMC should have sold the show to Netflix in its current season from the start.

Now, people are going to have to wait for a while before Season 5 is available.

That’s no incentive to get people to cut the cord.

JEDIDIAH says:

Re: Re: Re:2 A pound of flesh.

The Walking Dead and Big Bang Theory are both available as streaming PPV. Timely too. Most anything else you would likely want is available that way too.

You just need to be willing to actually pay for it.

Although I find that Big Bang Theory is easy enough to acquire for free as it is on a broadcast network. Those signals are “in the clear” and any cheap TV tuner can capture them.

jupiterkansas (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I think when he said he could watch everything he wanted to, what he meant was he had no desire to see the latest and greatest thing the second it becomes available to the world.

Some cord cutters, like me, are perfectly content watching the 100+ years of media content that has already been created and is freely available legally and without cable.

JEDIDIAH says:

Re: Utterly clueless nonsense.

AMC doesn’t offer the recent season of The Walking Dead without cable.

A blatant lie. The episodes of the Walking Dead are available on the streaming services as soon as they are “broadcast”.

This is fairly normal pretty much any show that one would care to subscribe to cable for.

HBO is notable here because it is a lone holdout. Although they are also considering “cutting the cord” themselves. And why not? They have ALWAYS been an “ala carte” channel. The transport medium really should not matter to them.

If you want the latest episode of Spongebob, Apple and Amazon will happily accommodate you.

Kionae (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I disagree.

I can watch AMC’s The Walking Dead, legally, the day after a new episode airs, on Vudu, for the cost of a $30 season pass. Compared to paying $150 a month for cable, that’s a huge bargain.

HBOGo is launching a stand-alone streaming service. It was just recently announced.

Even if I were to buy a season pass for every show I can’t watch over the air via antenna, it’s still a massive savings compared to paying for cable. Content creators are seeing the writing on the wall, and reacting accordingly. They’re starting to provide legal alternatives to cable, and the trend will only continue as bigger names jump on board.

Delestoran (profile) says:

Re: Re:

As long as the cable companies control the connection from the distribution box to the house or business, they won’t care about the fate of the content creators. They are not in the content creation business. They are in the connection business. So all of their work is about making monopolies on those connections. Getting rid of a cable company in the loop is hard, even when you have public supported fiber. Eventually their sloth and apathy will do them in.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You can watch ‘The Walking Dead’ by buying a season pass from Amazon. See the new Episodes the following day commercial free.

With all the money saved not paying for a bunch of crap you don’t want, buying a few season passes is a drop in the bucket.

I cut the cord a couple years ago. I went from $170 a month Comcast, which was for TV service with a HD 2 tuner DVR and Mid speed Internet service and at the time it was only me. 1 TV, No premium channels as I dropped Showtime a few years before that because of the fast rising costs.

I now pay U-Verse $35 a month for Internet only. That’s a $135 a month savings, or over $1600 per year staying in my pocket. I put up a Antenna and get most of my TV that way. Add in Netflix which I had already been using when I had Comcast and I have more content to watch then time. I don’t miss it at all.

Even when I had my Dad move into my house and he Had Dish service and offered to get it installed and pay for it, I said NO! I didn’t want it or need it. He no longer misses it and watches to much TV as it is.

Saving $1600+ per year, spending $20 on a season pass for 1 show is fine. Maybe just buying the season on DVD when it comes out and watch on my own schedule.

Cord Cutting doesn’t mean cutting completely, just means cutting the cord from paying for TV service. You can get along just great with Internet only!!! Like I said, I pay U-Verse $35 a month for that. I’m in my second year with them. It’s not as FAST as Comcast, but more then fast enough for my needs and I can stream HD content just fine.

I won’t get into the not so legal ways to watch anything you want. There’s less and less need to pay to watch TV. Paying for a 100+ channels and only ever watching 20 at most is just silly. The expensive channels are the Sport one’s which only a tiny fraction of people watch and yet everyone subsidizes. ESPN, Fox Sports, etc.

Netflix is creating their own shows these days along with others like Hulu and even Yahoo with the continuation of Community. It’s a changing marketplace. My brothers kids didn’t even know what a commercial was for the longest time as all they Watch is Netflix Kids section. They actually thought the commercials were neat.

HBO being set free from Cable, who cares. I’m sure not going to pay the $15+ that it would cost for it. It’s not worth it unless that’s the only thing you watch. Netflix is the better deal. HBO for the year would cost you $180 if it was still at $15. It’s sure not going to be cheaper off of cable otherwise everyone would drop it from cable and just pay the lower cable free price. So at minimum it’ll be at least $180 per year. If you only watch one or 2 series on HBO anyway, just buy them on DVD when they come out later. If you haven’t seen it, it’s still new to you and save money!!!

Do the math at how much you spend for your TV service!!! Again, for me with Comcast, that was $170 per month, which is $2,040 per year. In 10 years time, that’s $20,400. 10 years is nothing. I had Comcast for 18, but of course when i first signed up my cost were much lower. There was no internet service at the time. Trying to keep it simple and costs will continue to shoot up. People keep their TV service for years and years. So having Comcast for 20+ years, think of all that money and for what? Wouldn’t you rather keep that money in your pocket? Spend it on a nice Vacation? Put into your Retirement? Pretty much do anything else other then giving it to Comcast or someone else for TV service you can get for free by putting up a Antenna and a few season passes.

Anonymous Coward says:

. In fact the only growing cable viewership audience that week was the predominately-older Fox News audience, which had tuned in to Fox’s live Ferguson coverage.

I found a typo, should read as follows:

. In fact the only growing cable viewership audience that week was the predominately-older Fox News audience, which had tuned in to Fox’s live Ferguson disinformation campaign.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

People that pick on Fox news are just as ignorant and stupid as those watching and believing everything they say.

News is news… everything has a spin, and you just revealed yourself to be a blithering idiot, with your ignorance and bias! They all have varying degrees of stupid on display depending on the day, hour, or season.

So many stupid people and never enough time, text, or information to unstupid them…….

Anonymous Coward says:

Precisely true

My grandson — who is 3 — was watching Polar Express with his mom, on cable TV. Every time a commercial came on, he pointed at the remote and indicated that he wanted her to put the movie back on. Why? Because he’s so used to watching shows without commercials that he doesn’t understand what they are or why they’re on the screen.

His big sister, who’s about a year older, is already adept with her iPad and its many educational games. Neither one of these kids is going to grow up thinking that it’s normal to wait a week for the next episode of something and then have it interrupted constantly by commercials — some of which promote the current program and include spoilers, which AMC now seems very fond of doing.

Read the writing on the wall, cable companies: we want what we want, when we want it, we want it globally on demand, we want it a la carte, and if you don’t give it to us, we’re going to lose interest and find something else to do. (Like the commenter above, I don’t talk about TV shows with family or friends or co-workers. This isn’t 1974 any more, when we all watched All In The Family at the same time on the same night. I don’t care about The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones or Orange is the New Black or ANY of those. The only thing I watch with any regularity — and it’s not much — is The Big Bang Theory, and frankly, I’m quite happy to catch it in reruns, out of order, whenever, doesn’t matter.)

You are losing your older audience (me). You’re losing your younger audience — bright smart young 20-somethings. And you’re losing the kids. You can blame the bogeyman of piracy all you want, but the real reason stares you in the face whenever you look in a mirror.

TheResidentSkeptic says:

Cord Cutting is the wrong term.

Since DSL or Cable Modems are the only choices in many of our “competitive” markets the term doesn’t have the correct meaning. Dropping cable broadcasting service and just using cable data services is what is going to be part of the future.

*if* the cable companies don’t screw it up by trying to force people to have their broadcast crap with their data service. I confused the hell out of my telco when I ordered DSL service without phone service. They really didn’t like that. Said I couldn’t do that. So I told them which tariff the regulation was in, and I got it. I wonder how many DSL service only users are out there…

But in a market with a fiber option – bye-bye cable and telco companies!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Cord Cutting is the wrong term.

if the cable companies don’t screw it up by trying to force people to have their broadcast crap with their data service. I confused the hell out of my telco when I ordered DSL service without phone service. They really didn’t like that. Said I couldn’t do that. So I told them which tariff the regulation was in, and I got it. I wonder how many DSL service only users are out there…

I’d very much like to know which tariff that is, too, because we’re stuck with Verizon voice service even though all we really want is DSL. Easily 95% of our incoming calls are telemarketers (yes, we block extensively) and of course Verizon will not assist AT ALL in blocking those on their side.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Cord Cutting is the wrong term.

There is a trivial solution to the annoyance of a bundled phone line that comes with DSL. Remind anyone that you will want to talk to that you have a personal phone (ie cell) and let the telemarketers call the house. If they want to talk to an inanimate object that is what that line is for. I recommend not plugging a phone into the line to ensure that people calling the house don’t accidentally talk to you.

edinjapan (profile) says:

Re: Cord Cutting is the wrong term.

You are definitely on to something there. We have 1G bps service here in Japan and everyone who is on NTT or KDDI lines has access to it. So, guess what, cable is next to non-existent here in Japan. Time shifting and removing commercials here is still an official nono, downloading is also frowned upon and uploading of any commercial content is a very bad thing in Japan-we blame it on Sony. Guess we have a ways to go here.

Groaker (profile) says:

Cord cutting is not limited to the young. I am pushing 70, and not only have I cut my own cord, I help others to do the same thing.

I start with a demo of the channels available, then show them how to hook up a box, then have them hook up a box, then use a spreadsheet to show them how much they will save.

It is easier with the tech savvy (and there are many — I had my first programming job in ’65) But I also succeed with oldsters who can barely use a point and shoot camera.

Anonymous Coward says:

It’s plain and simple , If you have an okay income or a one that’s lacking it makes sense to get rid of the costly items in life and save money.
cable shoots itself in the foot by not dropping rates in times of recession,customers leave and when the money springs back up it’s too late the cable industry has already lost them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Not dropping rates? They still continue to shoot up!!!

Let me put it into simpler terms. I was paying Comcast $170 per month before I had enough and dropped them. It was just me living at my old place, 1 TV and Mid speed Internet service and no Premium channels. I got my house a couple years ago and I dropped Comcast, and went with U-Verse for Internet only and threw up a Large Antenna. I pay U-Verse $35 a month. The Internet isn’t as fast as Comcast, but it’s cheaper and fast enough to stream HD content.

Comcast was costing me $2,040 Per year. U-Verse is costing me $420 per year. A savings a $1,620 per year!!! That’s money I can use for other things. Maybe a Vacation. Maybe just some extra spending money. That’s money not going to Comcast!!! That’s 1 year with prices staying static.

Who keeps their service for just 1 year? You may have it for 20+ years. I have more content to watch these days then ever before and far from enough time to do it. Why would I ever go back to the days of $170+ per month Comcast bill? I used to hate getting that bill in the mail and wondering why I was putting up with it.

Think about this, 10 Years time with Comcast at $170 per month is $20,400. Maybe that’s money better spent by putting away for your kids future education, instead of a huge Company like Comcast.

yankinwaoz (profile) says:

TV news... really?

I am saddened when I see the partisan sniping about cable TV news networks. “Faux News”.. “Clinton News Network”. Really?

News flash! All news networks have an agenda. The newspapers and magazines do too. In other news, water is wet.

What I can’t understand is why anyone would choose to consume their news via a cable news show in the first place regardless of their political slant. It just seems so inefficient.

It is far more efficient for me to use web based news aggregators to find the news I am interested in. It lets me read it as my schedule. I can choose to invest my time in subjects that deeply interest me. It gives the news service a way to do their job the best they can.

The few times I have watched cable news, I find their information is at best half baked, speculative, and sometimes just plain wrong. Unless I need to know that a comet is about to land on my head, I don’t need breaking news.

For example, two cops are murdered in NYC. That is legit news. So take your time news writers. Do the research, put it in context, then present it to me when you are done. I don’t need to know this today. It serves me zero good in regard to the decisions I need to make today.

I really hope more and more people are thinking like I do and tuning out the cable news noise. It is no better than the entertainment news, all junk food for the brain.

Cord cutter says:

Cut the cord

I cut the cord and now it’s all popcorn time all the way. What a fantasic experience it’s been, just popped on the net after like 3 straight months of watching popcorn time, and i gotta say it’s awesome, it’s ad-free and it’s free!

Can’t beat it, i encourage everyone try popcorn time, because shows are on there about 1-2 hrs after the show airs on TV

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Cut the cord

Oh no, illegal AND using torrents! The horror! It’s not like PRIVATE TRACKERS exist or anything. Or anonymizers. Or proxies. It’s also not like a MAJOR portion of the population participates in “illegal downloading”, such that singling out any given individual is a complete and total crapshoot. Nah, let’s just cower in fear of the laws that were bought and paid for by the companies that benefit from said laws, ignoring the fact that there is literally no way to enforce anti-piracy laws and never will be.

Anonymous Coward says:

Cutting the cord is only an issue if you are a huge sports fan. Otherwise, put up an antenna, get a DVR through Tivo (lifetime subscription pays for itself after about 18 months), and use Netflix. I live in the middle of nowhere and pick up 20 channels over the air, including all major networks, and don’t feel like I miss out on a thing. I’ve been cable/satellite free for 3.5 years, and have no interest in going back.

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