EDITORIAL: The scariest thing a Millennial ever said

Random photo of people under 35 found on the internet

Disclaimer: I am not a Millennial. Millennials are that group born after 1980 who have defined popular culture with their attachment to mobile devices and penchant for sharing on social networks. Sadly, your humble narrator does not fit into that category.

However, I was speaking with a Millennial the other day, and she revealed to me that she is a true “cord-never.” Never had a cable bill, never will. She doesn’t even have an antenna or a proper TV. If she wants to watch a video, it’s on her mobile device. I was anxious to delve into her thoughts and motivations, to see why the very idea of linear television (you know, TV that you sit down and watch for the night) wasn’t interesting.

And here’s the scary part: It wasn’t the cost. She didn’t shy away from cable or satellite because of the high bills. She wasn’t enticed by an antenna either, as it ties her to a single location. No, the simple reason she didn’t subscribe to cable or satellite was “it’s just not interesting.”

…and the broadcast industry part of me shrieked in horror as she went on to explain.

Television, she said, just didn’t fit her lifestyle. It required a time commitment she didn’t want to give and it was mostly inane stuff that she said would “rot her brain.” I asked, if there was something important like a storm or crime nearby, would she tune the local news? Nope… the information is available on the internet and it’s easier to get to the heart of the matter.

“So,” I said, still reeling from this frank description of TV as it has always been, “it wouldn’t matter if all TV were free, if every channel were free, you wouldn’t be interested.”

She said it again, and I noted that this time she was speaking a touch more slowly to make sure my grey-haired head was capable of taking it all in… it’s not the cost. It’s the content, how it’s presented, and it’s just not part of her lifestyle.

Those very words may embody the scariest idea put before broadcasters in 100 years. TV, to her, was unredeemable. There is nothing that a broadcaster could do to get this lady to sit down and watch a commercial, no program enticing enough and no event interesting enough. The internet is just better at giving her what she wants.

If the millions of others in her generation are like my Millennial conversation-mate, broadcasting is utterly, utterly doomed. 

I imagine that it’s like cars and horses for most of us. We drive places and would never consider taking a horse as a daily driver. It’s old, obsolete, slow and requires too much commitment. It’s amazing to think that subscription television could be a thing of the past, but this generation cannot be ignored. They just don’t want to settle in for the night and watch prime time stuff.

This is freaking me out. I think I’ll turn on the tube and relax.