There’s a new report that comes via Bloomberg that shows what young people are or aren’t spending money on when it comes to content. What they found should be super-disturbing for the media world.
Two of the bottom three categories in terms of spending are “News and Current Affairs” and “Sport.” Unfortunately those are the categories that legacy media – the broadcast and pay cable networks in particular – count on the most to bring in viewers and advertisers. “Live sports” is often given as the reason why many people haven’t cut the cord yet and switched solely to streaming or on-demand services.
So if young people aren’t spending their time watching sports, which is especially pronounced when it comes to the NFL, that’s a big looming problem not just for the leagues but the networks. These leagues may have become more popular with people who are 18-24 now when that demographic gets to be 35-44 and they’re looking for other leisure time activities, but that’s a big “if” and a lot of damage can be done in the meantime.
What’s also interesting is that outlets like Netflix and others have shown limited interest in even entering these categories. Twitter has seen some success with its Thursday Night Football live streams but experiments by other companies have been more spotty and haven’t lasted for very long. So if people aren’t spending as much time with sports and news *now* it may not make sense for them to make pricey investments in those licenses in the future.
And the leagues who dole out the licenses have no one but themselves to blame. If I had cable (we cut the cord years ago), I’d have to choose between any of four or more stations a Cubs game would be broadcast on. And games that consistently start at 7PM or later just don’t fit my schedule, or that of my kids.
And there you go. If you’re not showing the games at a time that’s convenient not just for your current audience but your potential future audience, your lifespan becomes significantly shorter.
There will always be a market for football and other sports. But the size and makeup of that audience is likely to be very different several years from now.