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Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

“Go Watch Cable TV!” How Parents Punish Kids Today

Remember “I Want My MTV!”??

It was yesterday’s battle cry for the shift to cable / satellite viewing after a generation of dominance by over-the-air broadcasters.

Consumers answered MTV’s call, bringing on new industry models, viewing preferences and popular culture.

This week, I came across a stunning research finding.

It captures the waves of change that threaten the industry created since “I Want My MTV!”


  • Miner & Co Studio, a NYC-based firm, conducted a survey of 800 moms and dads of kids ages 2-12 who live in U.S. and watch at least some video content on a tablet and/or smartphone.

Key Findings

  • 57% of parents say their child prefers a device other than the TV to watch video content.

And here’s the big one!

  • 50% of parents say “sometimes as punishment, I take the tablet or smartphone away and she/he just watches TV instead.”


Canary in the Miner?

  • I don’t buy the idea that the cable/satellite video distribution model is collapsing like the CD Music business did earlier in the century.
  • Cable channels enjoy long-term affiliate deals with platforms like Comcast and ATT:
    • Video is a troubling loss leader for the operators because programming costs are spiraling.
    • But video is a necessary product offer for them because the operators enjoy terrific margins from their other ‘triple play’ Internet and telephone services.
  • But here you have it: watching a cable channel is as hip for the next generation TV audience as an afternoon of “No TV for you!” was for the “I Want My MTV!” cohort.
  • For young adult and older viewers, the cultural sizzle has also moved on:
    • I haven’t overheard an office watercooler rave about a new unscripted cable show since the launch of Pawn Stars.
    • As we reported last week, the buzz is about binge-viewing scripted series.
    • And in our earlier reports, Netflix, Amazon and SVOD platforms are boomimg.
  • Meanwhile, Reality seems to be a withering genre:
    • There hasn’t been a super-hit since A&E’s yikky Duck Dynasty.
  • Many U.S. unscripted channels are dealing with a shocking loss of viewers:

rating 1Q15

Source: Nielsen Media Research

Key Takeaways

  • Channels are locked into long-term contracts with operators, so the industry will continue to buy thousands of hours of programs for the foreseeable future.
  • But the rate of change is accelerating.
  • The cab/sat model looks less ‘mature’ than ‘threatened.’

The Miner Findings

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