In the post-cable universe, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) has set itself up to be a long-term winner. The company has built a massive base of subscribers, and that’s likely only to increase as cable weakens.
The streaming leader isn’t the only winner. YouTube also has gained market share as younger consumers consume video without subscribing to traditional cable. There’s also a shift in how people watch TV moving from big screen to laptops, tablets, and phones.
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on Dec. 4, 2018.
Vincent Shen: I’m curious now, who’s your pick among the newcomers in pay TV? We’re looking away from traditional cable companies, things like that. Who’s your MVP?
Dan Kline: I mean, I feel weird saying this is a newcomer, but you can’t argue with what Netflix is doing. Whether you have cable or don’t have cable, in the U.S., two-thirds of you with cable have Netflix. It’s kind of a stunning number of subscribers. If you said today, “From scratch, I’m going to create a company that has the intellectual property that Netflix now controls, and the amount of hit shows that they own outright,” it’s almost impossible. Netflix came together almost by accident. It was a service that was basically just rebroadcasting other people’s stuff that dabbled in originals that had some hits and has gone to the tune of about $6 billion a year in creating this massive firewall of originals. Other than Disney, which obviously owns a ton of originals, and maybe Comcast, there is nobody out there. If you and I had $20 billion to start a streaming service, that wouldn’t get us to half of what Netflix has now. That’s a very hard business to go after.
Shen: I think most Fools are familiar with the Netflix story. There’s one data point that I’ll make here to emphasize what I think will shape up to be a really nice tailwind for Netflix long-term. There’s this latest Piper Jaffray Taking Stock with Teens survey. I think you’ve heard of this, Dan.
Shen: They said that Netflix and YouTube accounted for 70% of the daily video consumption among teenagers. 70%. There’s an honorable mention for Alphabet‘s YouTube. I know that service has started to offer an ad-free experience with the monthly subscription. They also have their own YouTube TV bundle.
In the same survey, cable TV’s share of daily consumption among teens stood at just 16%. That’s down from 30% just three years ago. I bring that up because Dan, you and I have discussed this before, it’s the very real potential for younger consumers and TV subscribers to basically grow up never having access to these traditional pay TV packages, meaning they’ll never really miss it or have the desire to sign up for it as they grow older, because there are all these other alternatives. I do think there’s something there.
Kline: Yeah. There’s also a seismic shift of my generation. I’m, I don’t know, 18 years older than you, something like that. We wanted a bigger television. I went from the 13-inch black and white television to, now I have a 60-inch big wall television. My son will happily watch “TV,” YouTube or whatever, on his phone, in a room that has a big television that has YouTube on it, if you wanted to be watching those things. I think that’s a seismic shift. You’re right, you can’t miss something you don’t have.
That said, I do think as people get older and they get into relationships and they have kids, cable TV starts to make more sense. I think that’s the firewall for the industry. You don’t have kids yet, but if I want to watch the NFL, and my wife wants to watch a Lifetime movie, and my son wants to watch Cartoon Network, I could probably buy all those things in streaming packages, but it’s easier to have cable. I do think that’s going to protect the industry. Young people also live in dorm rooms. They’re not used to having a big house yet. At some point, most of them go out and get a decent-sized house. I don’t think this is the end of cable, as some have predicted.
Shen: Sure. With that, keep in mind, we’ve seen similar trends, though, where a new market will go without something that the more developed markets think is necessary. I think about, for example, how mobile phones are the primary computing device in a lot of developing markets. If you think about personal computers, they aren’t taking as much of a hold, as much of the market, in those regions. It changes the equation entirely for how people are using their computers, how people are using their mobile phones. It’s interesting to see how that will evolve for this younger generation now, where, for example, they’re watching it all on this six-inch screen on their phones.
Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Daniel B. Kline has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Vincent Shen owns shares of Alphabet (A shares). The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Netflix, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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