With 19% of millennials living without pay TV and 98% of those saying they have no intention of getting it, operators look to be in for a tough time convincing them otherwise. A big part of the problem is that these young viewers have grown up in the interactive world of the Internet and mobile phones. The passive television experience is simply not interesting to them.
In the new free white paper What Millennials Want from TV, nScreenMedia looks at the mismatch in expectations between millennials and TV. For the generation reared with a smartphone in almost constant contact with their friends, media consumption is rarely an entirely solo experience. Their opinions are as much a part of the experience as the media they are consuming.
For web-native services, tapping into that behavior has provided the keys to success. Using a mix of editorialized “shows” and social comments, HuffPost Live (HPL) has established itself as a key resource for its growing audience. Roy Sekoff, Head of HuffPost Live, says the site has attracted 1.3B views with an average of 22M monthly unique viewers watching for, on average, 18 minutes each.
These results are approaching TV numbers. In 2011, Nielsen Media Research reported the monthly cumulative audience for the top three cable news networks. Though the bar was set somewhat higher than the average viewership reported by HPL (Nielsen only counted people watching for an hour or more in the month), the audience’s size was very close to television. CNN attracted 41.7M unique monthly viewers, Fox News 41M and MSNBC 36.9M.
With web resources engaging the audience like HPL, it’s not hard to see why millennials find TV wanting. When they look at television they see something fixed and unresponsive.
And that is the challenge for TV Operators and content providers. How do they bring the audience’s voice more directly into the experience?
To some extent, that voice is already there. Twitter reports that 70% of millennials say they enjoy reading tweets while tracking a live event on TV. 71% say that tweeting about any event makes it more fun, and most of those would follow a hashtag related to the event. Various second screen TV apps, like Beamly and Tomorrowish, are taking advantage of this chatter occurring around the TV experience. Unfortunately, use the wrong app or follow the wrong hashtag and a user could still be out of the loop.
Finding a way to more directly connect social interaction with the TV screen and the shows themselves is key to keeping TV competitive for the long haul. That means making social interaction a part of the pay TV platform and, ultimately, another brush in the color palette of the content creators.
nScreenMedia’s white paper, What Millennials Want from TV, suggests concrete steps operators and content providers can take now to start the journey toward social integration. It is available immediately for free from the nScreenMedia website.
Why it matters
Many millennial consumers are not pay TV subscribers, and have no interest in becoming one.
Raised in the interactive media landscape of the web, the passive environment of television is just not that interesting to them.
Bringing the voice of the audience to the traditional TV experience is the best way to guarantee the long-term future of the medium.