Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cable - are its days numbered?

Old timers in (online) video land have a saying - "video is only six months away". How many times have we said that the days of viewing linear TV are over. Old ways of distributing video via broadcast or cable are ending. But its been well over 10 years and these folks are alive and kicking, and might I say, rich!

But, I do feel that the day of cable and broadcast distribution are numbered. It'll not happen in the 6 months or 6 years but their hold over our media lives is slowly but surely diminishing and will soon become minimal when the current generation (born post 2002) gets out of high school. I don't know what the demographic segment has been assigned to this generation (e.g. millennial, Gen Y, etc) but I call them the "YouTube generation". Now, I shouldn't be uttering the word - YouTube, given that I'm from Yahoo! but YouTube is the crowned king of UGC online video.
The current generation - millennial, have been exposed to non-linear viewing (in YouTube) but have not grown up with it. For them its an important part of their media viewing along with TV.

However I see a seminal change coming. My 2 year old son watches cartoons on YouTube! He asks for YouTube by name and not TV. This generation is growing up with the non-linear viewing as its default media habit. Linear TV appears weird to them. For them, the norm is to watch on demand, rich interactive media. They will look back and say - "what weird folks lived 15 years ago, they watched linear media"

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