NBCUniversal recently invested $200 million in BuzzFeed and plunked another $200 million into Vox Media.
These moves are part of a major effort by parent company Comcast to expand its reach among millennials, in hopes that the cable giant can hop on the media-distribution curve.
That curve is paced by digital-streaming services like Netflix and Amazon, which have been stealing the coveted generation of mostly 18- to 34-year-olds.
As we’ve detailed previously, millennials seek affordable options for entertainment and enjoyment. Paying $100-$150 per month for cable — before adding premium channels — is not a preferred option. ComScore reported in 2014 that 24 percent of millennial TV viewers aren’t cable subscribers. Nielsen reported the 18-34 demographic spends an average 109 hours per month watching live television, down from 131 just four years earlier.
Netflix, Amazon and other streaming services offer millennials the freedom to watch television whenever they want. The options also are cheaper, with Netflix and Amazon Prime together costing roughly $20 per month. Other media and production companies have taken note: HBO in April launched HBO Now, a streaming service offering original programming, plus films and other content.
Comcast, meanwhile, is just getting its feet into the streaming pool, planning a service aptly called Stream, which will have limited distribution capacity and a $15-per-month price tag. It’s also developing a YouTube-style app called Watchable, which will include content from new partners BuzzFeed and Vox Media, among other providers.
TRENDPOST: Millennials are detaching themselves from expensive cable plans. As this continues, behemoth corporations will need to adapt. Comcast is starting, though its plans seem conservative at best. The likely winners in this new landscape are those who capitalize on millennials’ desire for portability and convenience while creating new, ambitious programming. Either way, we’re seeing the slow death of traditional cable programming; in three to five years, it’s likely every media provider will offer every program — including live content — away from the living room TV.