Nearing the end of the decade, a large number of households still subscribe to cable/dish TV and some prefer the radical evolution in media Streaming on the internet. Will Cable / Dish TV survive this media technology evolution or does it face an impending doom?

Internet streaming has opened up a plethora of international media content to audiences in India. It no longer remains a gimmick after outlets such as Netflix and Amazon Prime becoming every laptop and mobile phone users new muse. These two contenders are pouring resources into acquiring exclusive rights to popular Television Shows, Movies, and producing awe-inspiring original content.

Traditional television programming still appeals to the larger masses in India. Content generated for Indian Television is created and curated according to the media watching preferences of the demographic that spend a majority of its time at home, such as the elderly, housewives, and retired professionals. Also, Programming for region-specific content has become a more lucrative enterprise that national television.

Millennials, the current 18-34 year old demographic, mostly do not fall in the bracket of audiences for whom T.V. content in India is catered towards. Millennials have long since the advent of youtube and smartphones taken to streaming media and prefer it to be available to watch it on a mobile device.

Cutting the cord is just become a possibility in India with The Amazon Fire TV Stick (Video Streaming Box / Media set-top-box) recently made available to purchase in retail as well as faster, more reliable internet connection since the 4G.

Speaking to a random set of people; strangers, friends and family give me mixed feelings about consumer preference in between the two choices. To rid ourselves of the uncertainty we must consider Cable / Dish TV and Streaming Media on the Internet in the context of Technology. Two different technologies which provide the same service- Media.

This boils the issue down to two demographic factors:

  1. Consumer’s Living Situation
  2. Location

cordcutting1

It is possible to further segregate people into 3 categories of consumers based on their life situation.

  1. Consumer living with parents on in someone else’s home (not a millennial)
  2. Consumer living on their own, without children.
  3. Consumer living on their own, with children.

[Catergorisation based on Nielsen’s study go millennial cord-cutting, Source: NY Times article- Millennials and Cutting the Cord]

Category 1 and 3 will most definitely subscribe to a traditional T.V. connection; watch regular programming and news with family as well as stream media on personal computers or mobile devices. It is not unusual to find equal preference given to both traditional T.V. as well as streaming.

Category 2 consumers prefer not to subscribe to cable T.V. and stream media on the internet.

Having analysed the Living Situation factor, scrutinising the second-factor I.e. the Location of the consumer is crucial, especially in India, where one expect inconsistency in the quality and availability of technology nationally.

 

It is possible to segregate consumers based on their locality into 3 broad categories

  1. Tier 1 & 2 Cities
  2. Rural India
  3. Remote Regions

The people in the first two categories are considerably exposed to and are aware of the media streaming technology available to them. People living in remote regions and in business with nearby Tier 1 and 2 Cities get acquainted with fringe technology as well. However, currently, only category 1 citizens have access to and are comfortably streaming media on the internet. Category 1 citizens received first retail access to the Amazon Fire TV stick and due to its popularity ran out of stock. Category 2 populace is becoming well versed in the ways of streaming media on the internet which turns the discussion from the availability of and familiarity with the technology to the financial implications.

Money needed to purchase, install, use and service new technology is a point of great contemplation in category 2 and 3. However, after a grand reception and acceptance of Netflix and Fire TV Stick by Category 1, we can conclude that people from Tier 1 and 2 cities can financial accommodate new technology.

Youtube CEO- Suzan Wojick, informs us in her interview with CBS, “television content is really popular on our platform. But the next generation isn’t watching TV the same way as the older generation. The 18-34 [year old] demo [graphic] study of the last 5 years has seen a drop in their T.V. usage [ not media consumption, which had accelerated], almost a 40% drop.”

This holds true for India in Tier 1 & 2 cities category and is increasingly becoming a reality in rural India as well, due to affordable smartphones and internet access.

She adds further on the subject of catering to the YouTube generation, So we thought, ‘How do we take all the great content that is on TV and how do we make it available for the YouTube generation? How do we make it on demand, mobile, searchable, give great recommendations, with cloud DVR?’

Their solution is YouTube TV (only available in limited regions in the U.S.) for $35 per month for 6 accounts, which is phenomenally cheaper than the $200 cable T.V. subscription fees.

It may take a long time for YouTube TV to reach India or even for us to see an Indian counterpart to this media streaming concept for Indian Television content. We can, for now, conclude that millennials in India are equipped enough to cut cords and will become the facilitators for the move. However, there still remains a huge demographic, apart, from the millennials, which prefers traditional TV programming over fidgeting around with internet connections and its gentry of new gadgets. Only time will tell if Cable/ Dish TV’s programmed/scheduled content and technical solidarity will win over the internet’s vast variety of content, mobility and customisation power.

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