In what is surely good news for both established entities and newcomers within the streaming business, a recent report from TiVo-owned research company Digitalsmiths claims that approximately 1.5 million people in the U.S. this year will leave cable behind.
Analysis of the survey at FierceCable concludes that the study of more than 3,000 U.S. adults points to 38.1 million dissatisfied Americans. Many of them will apparently take action such as the 4.2 percent that plan to end their cable service within six months and the 7.9 percent that plan to alter their service (perhaps by downgrading).
Those figures, while impressive, are not enough to take cable out of the game entirely, but they are chipping off the block. FierceCable again points to industry commentary with media analyst Craig Moffett predicting that the gains for over-the-top streaming services (you know them: Netflix, Roku, SlingTV…) will continue to trickle. However, he does not expect even the most impressive of the group to eliminate cable from the equation.
If he is correct, it could be a while before big cable becomes small cable. Regardless of its speed of entry, though, what is holding the new kids on the block from market dominance? One answer, at least in the U.S., could lie within a specific demographic. MediaPost suggests that the Hispanic population could be the last stronghold for traditional media. Alongside food and beverage, retail, and a handful of other markets, changes in the way that Americans pay for TV content is affecting that population. They are embracing streaming services but are also known for holding on to traditional media a bit longer than others.
This has reportedly prompted media companies to get on the defensive and keep those holdouts under the wing of traditional services. A younger Hispanic generation, though, may look to adopt new types of content at higher rates, so big cable will have to do more than just defend. It is now important, MediaPost concludes, for an active strategy that adapts new products to the changing preferences of an up-and-coming generation.
The future appears bright yet with progress moving at more of a snail’s pace than one might like. As younger generations grow up, they will surely continue to demand instant content and leave traditional media behind. Broadband streaming services can give them what they want and should be ready now and prepare for a sea change in the overall market — no matter how swiftly it comes along.