TV Networks are Desperate to keep younger viewers watching, and this is their game plan
With traditional TV channels charting their worst years ever, many people are calling this the beginning of the end for the boob tube. However, online networks like Netflix and Hulu, as well as programming available on-demand from traditional providers like Comcast and HBO, are on the rise. This is great for our TV binge-watching, but bad for networks that haven't made the jump onto the even smaller screen yet. And now they're getting desperate: It was announced today that almost every major cable network is joining Comcast and Twitter's "SEEIt" initiative in an attempt to recoup us younger folk.
Once it goes live, Comcast and Twitter will be introducing a new "SEEIt" button to any tweets about television, which will allow you to tell your TV to play the show you've mentioned. The "SEEIt" button will take you to the show whether it is live or online through Comcast, making on-demand TV even more accessible. But will it really convince us all to stop re-watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix?
I'm solidly skeptical. Since we millennials are notoriously lazy and ridiculously poor, I don't see why we would see the reasoning behind paying for premium channels through Comcast, when we could pay for Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime for a fraction of the cost, and get free shipping to boot. I won't even discuss the myriad of ways our generation likes to pirate television, since that is well-covered territory.
A+E also sees a need for change, and is changing the successful Bio network into, FYI, a lifestyle channel focused on an audience that "thrives online." Part of the idea for the change comes from Esquire's acquisition of the Style network, which left a hole in the channel guide for young, non-male-focused lifestyle programming. From this slightly vague description, I can only picture the televised version of Pinterest, where fashionistas and crafters introduce recipes and then beg for repins and site visits. In reality, they've soft-launched the network with reruns of "flip my house" shows, which I doubt entertain or amuse millennials living in cinder block boxes in Bushwick, or their parents houses.
If cable TV providers really wanted to reach people of my generation, they would probably start focusing on a cheaper streaming site, or they'd relinquish more shows to Netflix. Because the things they're doing now seem desperate, and desperation is not our style.