Cord-nevers unlikely to ever buy pay TV, while OTT providers step up 4K game

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In a statistic that probably has cable TV execs scrambling to push broadband video, only about 2 percent of the 19 percent of millennials who don't have pay TV would consider signing up in the next three months, a new report from nScreenMedia indicates.

The white paper, "What Millennials Want from TV" studies what an age group that grew up with the Internet and mobile phones wants--and it's not a passive TV viewing experience.

"For the Internet generation, their opinions are as much a part of the experience as the media they are consuming," said Colin Dixon, founder and chief analyst of nScreenMedia in a post. "When they look at television they see something fixed and unresponsive. TV operators and content providers need to bring the audience's voice more directly into the experience."

Pay TV providers across all strata--cable, telco and satellite--have been scrambling to take advantage of broadband capabilities to offer up a new, more interactive and social TV experience via multiscreen and second screen options that take advantage of a generation of mobile viewers. They've also beefed up these viewing options as a way to combat an increasingly powerful threat from over-the-top (OTT) competitors.

While traditional pay TV providers are essentially playing catch-up with OTT, those players are stepping up their games with enhanced 1080p HD viewing experiences as the next-generation 4K/UHD technology sorts out.

Providers like Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX), VUDU and M-GO are pushing full-featured 1080p HD as an improvement over the 1080i, 720p most viewers get from their pay TV services. Pay TV operators, meanwhile, seem more likely to skip that step and go right for the ultra high definition play, said ABI Research analysts in a new report.

"We expect pay TV operators will seriously consider 4K movie services over IP connections directly to smart TVs, bypassing the set-top box … to compete with OTT providers," said senior analyst Michael Inouye.

The next step, he said, would be the rollout of 4K-capable set-top boxes in the 2015 to 2017 time frame when 4K is more fully saturated in the market.

For more:
- nScreenMedia has this post
- ABI Research has this press release

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