Jon Steinberg, formerly of BuzzFeed and Daily Mail U.S. and now developing a SVOD service called Cheddar, said just this. "People in their 20s and 30s are never going to watch television, they're never going to get cable boxes,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Well, we’ll check in with him in, say, five to 10 years to see where this goes. But right now? Those people are still watching TV, by many industry estimates. Lots of it.
Coming by way of Nielsen, the total 18-24 population watched an average of 15 hours and 11 minutes of weekly live TV viewing in fourth quarter 2015, while DVR and time-shifted TV viewing averaged 1 hour and 11 minutes per week.
For sure, they are watching lesser than other demographic groups. But new entrepreneurs are in the business of selling -- and following trends. But telling the world that millennials will “never” watch TV? Well, that makes a nice headline.
Interestingly, it seems that Cheddar is -- of all things, a CNBC-like channel for millennials. That’s right a TV business channel reference.
Many have tried this before -- that is, reinvent a traditional TV platform for another audience that never seemed to show interest. TV animation programming for adults? Sure, we already have Turner’s Adult Swim and Fox’s Sunday night lineup. Netflix for a young crowd? That’s where Fullscreen Media is headed.
We are told creating new TV-video platforms will be more complex. BuzzFeed Motion Pictures president Ze Frank said: “We need to look at how the content is used by a person to connect with another person — identity — and we also need to think about context."
But long-term focus will still be an issue -- especially with new millennials. My question is this: If millennials will never watch TV again, what device will they show half-interest in when they look to multi-task?
Maybe their smartphones will get short-shrift as their wireless, social media connected sleek VR device takes over -- for about five seconds worth of content.