23 millennials cord-cutters explain why they're totally not impressed by Apple's TV subscription service plans

Apple is reportedly working to launch its own TV subscription service.

The company is working is with programmers “to offer a slimmed-down bundle of TV networks this fall,” which would include access to channels like Disney, ABC, Fox, Discovery, and CBS. You’ll be able to use Apple’s TV service on your Apple devices, including Apple TV or your iPhone.

A Baird Equity Research note released Wednesday suggests Apple could
generate $US4 billion in annual service revenue from the launch of its own TV subscription service.

This seems like a play to millennials, who now watch 40 minutes less of traditional TV than two years ago, according to BI Intelligence. It’s been widely reported that millennials are cord-cutting — eschewing traditional cable packages in favour of Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO, and other streaming services.

We spoke with about two-dozen millennial cord-cutters, ages 19 to 27, to see why they ditched cable, what they use now to watch TV shows and movies, and whether they’d buy into Apple’s new TV service. Some of them are students. Some are employed. Others are unemployed and job hunting. None of them said outright they’d use Apple’s new reported TV subscription service.

Their answers are insightful and surprising.

Why don’t you pay for cable?

  • I can pretty much stream or download everything I want to so I don’t feel the need to spend an extra 60 bucks a month on cable.
  • At first I didn’t pay for cable because it was just too expensive to be worth it, then as I had more money it just seemed less and less worth it since I had gone so long without it anyway.
  • I don’t pay for cable because I don’t watch enough TV to make it worth the price. I feel like I get everything I need for the most part from network TV and Netflix — and all I had to do was buy a $US20 antenna one time. All the New Girl and Jeopardy I could ever need!
  • I don’t believe in paying for cable in college because 1) there’s PrimeWire [a website that lets users stream pirated shows and movies] and 2) there are streaming services. Managing these things is easier than dealing with the crooks at the cable company and these services usually tend to be more customer-friendly in the long run. It’s like a rent-controlled apartment.
  • I don’t pay for cable because as of right now, I don’t see it as a necessary expense (a.k.a., I can’t really afford it.) Also, since most programming is available online the day after its TV broadcast, I choose to wait a day and watch it for free online rather than on cable.

What do you use to stream/watch TV instead, if anything?

  • I typically stream from Netflix, Hulu Plus and HBO GO. I either pay for or share these accounts with my family so it doesn’t cost me very much money a month.
  • I do a combination of Netflix, Hulu, and pirated streaming to fill my TV needs.
  • Right now I have a Roku which I use Amazon Prime or Netflix on. If I can’t watch on there, I either download it on my laptop or PS3.
  • I do use Hulu sometimes, but again I mostly watch Network TV so things like Jane The Virgin and Scandal are available, I just have to wait a week. That used to bother me in college but now that I’m too busy to be anything other than a casual TV watcher I just stay clear of spoilers and I’ve found that I don’t mind. My boyfriend’s parents also have HBO so we use their HBO Go account for things like Game of Thrones and binge watching old shows. Not gonna lie, we’ve downloaded a few things — we were obsessed with The Affair and would find that online every single week, but only because we didn’t have another way to access it. Like, when it comes to movies, if it’s available on iTunes we pay for it even though we could probably download it for free easily. We only download things if there’s no way we could pay to watch it.
  • I usually stream TV shows on Hulu or Netflix, but if the show is available through the network’s website, I’ll watch it there, most likely. (Daily Show, SNL, etc.)

How long have you gone without cable?

  • I haven’t had cable for almost five years now, ever since I went to college. When I moved recently and set up my internet I was considering paying for cable, but my bill would have been double so my roommate and I decided it wasn’t worth it.
  • I have never paid for cable services myself, so I guess the last time I technically “had” cable was when I lived with my parents… So I guess it’s been like 7 years since I had cable
  • I haven’t had cable in 5 or 6 years.
  • I didn’t have cable growing up so I’ve honestly never really had it. My parents got it after I moved out of the house so when I would go home for vacations and stuff I had it but I never had it for a long enough period of time to get attached. But my boyfriend always had cable and he watches TV even less than I do — he couldn’t care less that we don’t have it now.
  • I only had cable for one year back in 2008 when I lived with my sister and she really wanted to have it and splitting the cost wasn’t so bad. I got laid off during the recession so it came in handy, I had all the time in the world. Streaming things on Netflix works just fine for me. I’m not concerned with staying current on Game of Thrones or the Walking Dead or anything like that. Between working full time and being a full time graduate student I don’t think the costs are worth it.

Can you see yourself paying for cable again in the future?

  • Honestly, except for live events like awards shows and sports, I don’t miss having cable. I can usually watch something an hour after it aired (by torrenting)…but I would probably consider buying that service, especially if I split the cost with my roommate.
  • I will probably never get a traditional cable subscription because I only follow maybe a handful of shows at a time, and I’m not interested in all the sports/news/etc packages that everyone offers.
  • I don’t miss live TV, and all the shows that I like are on one of the services I use. I don’t think I would pay for cable again, unless the rates were drastically reduced.
  • Even when I think about further down the line with having kids, I don’t foresee plopping them down in front of a cable-ready TV.
  • I’m not sure if I’d pay for cable again, but it seems silly to pay for it when other options (which are currently more affordable) are available.

Apple is reportedly launching a web TV service this fall. For $US20 to $US40 a month, Apple will let you stream live TV to all your Apple gadgets — your iPad, your Apple TV, your iPhone, etc. You’ll have access to a bundle of about 25 networks, including Disney, ABC, ESPN, CBS, and Fox. Would you be interested in Apple’s new TV service? Why or why not?

  • I don’t use Apple devices, so I don’t think this would affect me. Apple needs to remember it’s going after only a portion of the market.
  • I’d probably consider the Apple TV thing if it’s ad-free and would have all the channels my shows are one. If it’s like, just the basic stuff like the Big 4 plus sports, news, and family, I probably won’t go for it. I’d be more likely to pay $US20-$US30 per month for Hulu minus ads, to be honest.
  • I’m not sure I would pay for the Apple service since it looks like a lot of network channels and you don’t have to pay for those to begin with, which apparently a lot of people don’t know (my boyfriend kept telling me I was wrong, he didn’t believe me until we hooked the antenna up and actually had signal) so it doesn’t sound like there would be a WHOLE lot of extra channels for the money. For me, there’s kind of a big gap between the amount of content that you can get for free and the type of content that you have to pay for that I would actually want. There is SO much in between those two levels — like Disney and Discovery and ESPN — that I just have no interest in. Which I guess takes me to: I would absolutely pay $US20 or $US30 a month if it would give me the ability to watch things like HBO, Showtime, AMC, BBC America…that price tag is just not worth it to me if it isn’t giving me specifically what I want.
  • Apple TV sounds like a very reasonable option for people who can’t entirely cut the cord from current cable programming but are looking to lower their costs, but it’s just not for me.
  • Nope, I don’t think I’d do it. Unless they somehow acquire HBO and give me access to Game of Thrones for that price (along with the smaller channels). Even then though, it’s still so easy to watch what you want without paying for it that spending money on live TV is slowly becoming more and more obsolete.
  • With regard to Apple’s service, I still don’t know if it’s worth the cost. I’m usually not around to watch live TV anyway, which is one of the reasons I watch everything the day after on other streaming websites. So to pay $US20 minimum to miss live TV would be a little bit frustrating, as far as my current situation goes.

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