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Half of Millennials Drop Shows They Think Aren’t Easy Enough to Watch

Oriana Schwindt

Millennials are watching a lot of video these days. They spend more than six hours of their precious daily 24 either watching TV or streaming video, according to new research from TiVo.

But while they’re spending more of their days than other generations enthralled by moving pictures, these younger viewers are also becoming a little more impatient when it comes to access to their content: 54% of the millennials surveyed by TiVo have stopped watching a show because it was too burdensome to access — i.e. not enough episodes were available to catch up on, episodes were behind a paywall or moved platforms, or the viewer encountered some other impediment.

Those shows were a mixed bag: some broadcast (“The Big Bang Theory”), some cable (“The Walking Dead”), some near their conclusion (“Game of Thrones”), according to Paul Stathacopoulos, TiVo’s VP of strategy and strategic research. TiVo knows what shows people dropped because they had 2,500 respondents write out the series they’d stopped watching due to the aforementioned reasons.

“Some of it depends on where people came in and got introduced to the show,” Stathacopolous told Variety. Those who started watching a series on a service like Netflix grew frustrated after hitting the limit of episodes easily available to them.

“The moment millennials and Gen Z run into any barrier to access, they just turn and run,” Stathacopolous added. “They think, ‘There are four other shows I can go watch right now.’”

Being such voracious consumers of what’s now simply called “content” means these millennials have the highest rate of penetration when it comes to streaming services. A massive 91% of those surveyed subscribe to at least one.

That could spell a bit of trouble for new entrants into the SVOD arena, like Turner’s just-delayed FilmStruck, or even the long-term U.S. growth for a company like Netflix. The last thing cash-conscious millennials want is the obligation to cobble together multiple subscription services to watch what they want. But as more and more programmers try and wall their content or spread it across different streaming services, that’s exactly what’s happening.

The millennials’ willingness to abandon ship, though, indicates those programmers may start to see diminishing audiences that no longer translate into big financial returns for their series.

“We may over time start to see the average lifespan of highly successful properties start to contract,” Stathacopolous said.

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