The TV Industrial Complex is worried about cord-cutters — people who are bailing on their pay-TV subscriptions and turning to the Web instead.

And the TV Industrial Complex is even more worried about cord-nevers — twentysomethings who have grown up with Web video, haven't signed up for pay TV and may never sign up.

So here are a couple of soothing data points for the TV guys: About 75 percent of millennials are paying for cable, satellite or telco TV. And that number has stayed fairly steady since 2007, even though their Web video options have exploded since then.

Those data points come from ESPN, citing Nielsen. The sports powerhouse delivered them at an investor event earlier this month. So it would be reasonable if you took them with big helping of salt: “TV Business Doing Well, Says TV Business”.

If ESPN truly thought it didn’t have a millennial problem, or at least the makings of a millennial problem, then it wouldn’t be willing to join the Web TV service that Dish Network is planning.

Dish is trying to put together a “skinny” offering of ESPN and some other big TV channels — but not all of them — for about $30 a month. Dish wants to start selling the service this summer, targeting 20-somethings who watch a lot of video but don’t pay for TV.

But for now, ESPN seems convinced that no matter what you read, or what your friends tell you, lots of young folks are still paying for TV. Good news, for now, for pay TV’s most powerful company.


And 80 million people in the US still use landlines. but it's not a business I'd be investing in.

espn desperately needs to modify its business model or die. and it's not like the programming is especially good. all they've got is some limited exclusivity on events. once the football/basketball etc contracts are up, and those folks look to make deals with web content companies, espn is toast. no great loss there.


I have to say that the Sport Events going to cable is cutting themselves at the knees. Sports will continue to slowly die when people who grew up watching sports starts dwindling down. The only Sport you can watch with any consistency is Football and Man that sport is soooooo boring :) Give me Basketball anyday.


That is nice for ESPN. I have long said that they biggest problem with being a cord-cutter or cord-never is sports. If you are really big into sports you pretty much have to pay for cable. However, this is slowly changing. You can subscribe to pretty much every professional sport, except football, and watch games without a cable subscription now, and many collegiate schools are streaming their games online.

If I were ESPN, I would feel a lot more secure than other cable content providers, but I sure wouldn't be feeling secure. Because, if you think the current 20-something crowd is a problem wait until the kids who are around 10-12 now get out of the house. My daughters can't stand watching shows on TV (over the air) to them waiting a week for each episode is barbaric. Can't say that I can't see their point of view. They pretty much grew up with Netflix and Amazon Prime. The biggest wait is between seasons, waiting for shows within a season just seems stupid to them.I suspect that they will never be TV watchers in the sense that we mean today.

It would be like the current generation looks at the past concept of going to a movie theater to see news.


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