Recently, I came home from a long day of work looking forward to watching my favorite baseball team on the big screen TV in our living room. However, when I opened the front door, I was surprised to find my daughter and about 10 other friends sprawled across our living room, deeply engrossed in a RomCom they had recorded and that most had seen multiple times before. With my favorite perch having been overrun by teenagers, and recognizing a lost cause when I see one, I offered a polite hello and continued to my office to watch the game on my PC.
The viewing habits of generation Z are opportunistic and varied. Unlike previous generations, they do not have brand loyalty or technical constraints. They consume video on Netflix and Hulu, YouTube and Instagram and network TV and HBO. They move seamlessly and carelessly from phones to tablets to computers to TVs. They will use whatever content provider and device best meets their needs in any given moment.
Some have noticed these trends and announced the demise of DVR, both on the hard drive and on the cloud. However, as my little anecdote above illustrates, DVR, and especially cloud DVR, has secured its place among the pantheon of generation Z video options. Here are three reasons why:
Friends meet to share big screen experiences
Yes, Generation Z viewers are on the small screen all the time. Even if they are sitting together on the same couch, you’ll see them texting each other and sharing posts! However, when they do want a shared video experience, the big screen is still king. For the big screen, the classic service providers are still duking it out with the Netflixs of the world, and cDVR is one of their weapons of choice.
Possession is nine tenths of the law
Why is cDVR still a weapon? Well, VOD libraries are fickle. One day all the Marvel movies are available on Netflix, and the next day they are gone. One day Seinfeld is in your Service Provider’s catalog and, suddenly, it’s removed. That’s right: “No soup for you”. Recording a favorite video experience locks it down for the longer term. You can re-watch all those Avengers movies, find plot holes and foreshadowing as much as your heart desires, without the fear that tomorrow the content will be cycled out due to the end of the VOD viewing window. Even though recordings are not necessarily permanent, they sure are comforting among the shifting sands of VOD catalogs.
Generation Z does not (yet) rule the world
Generation Z will rule the world one day. But that day is not in 2019 or even 2029. Sure, they consume lots of video, but so do my older Generation Y children, my baby boomer wife and I, and our octogenarian parents. Most of the market still values and appreciates the convenience and advantages of the DVR experience. That value will continue for years to come.
So, cDVR will survive and thrive as Generation X rises. And, I will try and do the same until I get my living room back.