Perspectives from a Millennial and ‘Cord-Never’ – Why We Cut The Cord

Millennials have high expectations for what they invest in, with digital services being one of them. Not only am I a millennial, but also, having never owned a pay-tv cable subscription, I can be classified along with the remaining 18%[i] of video users as a ‘cord-never’. I work for managed-video service company, Quickplay, which launches premium OTT video services for leading operators and media companies around the world. As you can imagine, working in this space has placed me in countless discussions over my relationship with streaming video services as a cord-never and a millennial. My consumer profile is held under extreme analysis and scrutiny to television operators, namely my viewing behaviour, lifestyle, and purchasing motives.

It is understandable that this would be a hot topic in today’s video landscape. Having grown up in the digital age, services are expected to work immediately and work well. With respect to video streaming, that means I expect to access any existing piece of content, at any time, on any device, and in any location – seamlessly.

With endless options such as Roku, Hulu, Shomi, Netflix, and HOOQ it becomes difficult to choose a service. Why should cable companies care?

Not only are we the largest demographic, but we also form a significant amount of consumer spend[ii]We are three times more likely to consume video online (often multiple sessions at once). Yet we remain highly misunderstood to the traditional cable operator – despite being the largest targetable demographic when it comes to online video.

One key piece of advice I have for television operators is that choices in how we consume content is extremely reflective of the relationship we have with it. This applies to choice of which device to use, which content to consume, in what duration, and in what location. Figuring out how one’s television service fits into these choices will result in a satisfied user. For example, viewing content through a smaller screen, such as a laptop, versus a larger living room screen, creates a much more personal experience with the content, likely contributing to why we binge-watch more often on smaller screens. Content that may be released once a week is usually enjoyed with family and friends, needing to be easily transferable to the larger, living room screen. It should also be easily accessible on VOD so that everyone can view it at the same time. There are endless reasons as to why the traditional models of television simply cannot work anymore, but instead should have their content managed to be easily mobilized to over-the-top streaming services.

A second key piece of advice is that “content (truly) is king”. This infamous statement has never rang more true in the new world of OTT media services. I can admit countless occasions where I trial a subscription service solely based on my interest in consuming one specific piece of content, more than not a television series that I have been meaning to adopt. VideoNuze states that consumers are willing to spend big on content they love and cannot easily access[iii]. Although it may seem extremely illogical that millennials, cord-cutters, and cord-nevers alike will subscribe to a number of separate paid services in order to consume specific content, I can attest to being more than willing to pay for high–quality services containing the content I want. Industry experts predict that 15 to 20 niche OTT providers will attract 100,000 or more subscribers by 2018[iv].

The quality, service, recommendations, and personalized experience of subscription services have become the norm. As discussed earlier, we have high expectations for our video services, and one of the features we now demand is that we have access to the content we want, and that our service makes the right recommendations tailored specifically for us. Otherwise, that video service risks the chance of losing the user.

Although there is evidence that traditional pay TV business models do not satisfy the average millennial, this industry has been doing a great job of adapting to severe disruption on the video landscape. Broadband TV News says it best, stating “Services which fail to understand the increasingly complex array of choices available to the audience will struggle against those that address the need for connectivity, perhaps in hardware as well as content[v].


Marketing Associate