It was a landmark week for the showdown between big cable, who tie online services to network subscriptions, and Millennial viewers, who prefer to watch much of their TV online and a la carte.
At the 23rd annual Communicopia Conference in New York Thursday, Time Warner — HBO's parent company — made noise that it's thinking about unchaining mobile viewing service HBO Go from the requirement of a cable subscription.
Quartz Magazine reported today that Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said the company was exploring making HBO Go a standalone product as it explored "the best way to deal with online distribution."
With Millennials being a populous and coveted demographic (it roughly spans ages 18-34 and comprises about 74.3 million people) for the entertainment industry, it's possible their hunger for digital options is on its way to forcing cable's hand.
A Verizon study released last March found that Millenials watch three times more TV online than older viewers, and a June survey unveiled at Communicopia found that 5 percent of Millennials plan to cancel TV subscriptions.
"Those saying they intend to cut the cord was 2.9 percent, which might not sound like a lot, but would represent millions of customers and is more than the 2.2 percent in 2012 who said they would soon cancel pay TV," The Hollywood Reporter cited.
With the future of TV in the hands of a generation turning away from traditional cable, other networks are following HBO's lead. Quartz reported that 21st Century Fox, Viacom and Dish Networks also announced plans to jump on the life-after-cable bandwagon.
"As the age cohort becomes increasingly important, it is becoming increasingly important for companies to tailor products for them," Quartz reported. "In television, it is starting to happen."