Chart: The Netflix Generation
Millennials, streaming platforms, and the slow death of cable television
The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.
Since launching in the United States in 1948, cable television quickly emerged as the media consumption method of choice for families around the world.
Cable brought to us some of the most memorable and noteworthy events in history. People saw the fall of the Berlin Wall from their living rooms in 1989 – and many even remember being inspired by Neil Armstrong taking his first steps on the moon twenty years earlier.
And although television is still a vital medium today, it is also stuck in an inevitable quagmire. Digital already generates more ad revenue than television, while more people switch to streaming platforms every day.
Make no mistake – even though there is still plenty of money to be made in television, cable is experiencing a slow death, just like other traditional media channels. It might not yet be reduced to the more niche territory of radio or print, but cable is treading the same path.
The Digital Natives
Why this is the case is very simple math.
Even just six years ago in 2011, the average 18-24 year old millennial consumed about 25 hours of traditional television per week – today, they consume closer to 14 hours.
That said, it’s no surprise that the first generation of digital natives skews heavily towards digital content, but what will be even more interesting is the behavior of the next generation on deck: Gen Z (born in 2000 and onwards). This cohort was born into a world of screens and iPhones, and will not be aware of a prior era. To them, flipping through channels on cable television seems even more antiquated and arbitrary than it does to older generations.
Gen Z watches between two and four hours of YouTube and less than an hour of traditional television per day. They’re also twice more likely to use YouTube than Millennials, and a lot less likely to use Facebook.
– Shireen Jiwan, chief brand experience officer at Lucky Brand
Less than an hour per day is not very conducive to the cable business, especially when there are hundreds of channels in existence today. And while insights on Gen Z are still fluid and evolving, it’s highly doubtful that the generation will do a 360 on video anytime soon.
In the meantime, cable’s survival as a dominant medium rests squarely on the shoulders of older generations. While it works as a business for now, cable can’t fight the demographics forever.
Ranked: America’s 20 Biggest Tech Layoffs Since 2020
How bad are the current layoffs in the tech sector? This visual reveals the 20 biggest tech layoffs since the start of the pandemic.
Ranked: America’s 20 Biggest Tech Layoffs This Decade
The events of the last few years could not have been predicted by anyone. From a global pandemic and remote work as the standard, to a subsequent hiring craze, rising inflation, and now, mass layoffs.
Alphabet, Google’s parent company, essentially laid off the equivalent of a small town just weeks ago, letting go of 12,000 people—the biggest layoffs the company has ever seen in its history. Additionally, Amazon and Microsoft have also laid off 10,000 workers each in the last few months, not to mention Meta’s 11,000.
This visual puts the current layoffs in the tech industry in context and ranks the 20 biggest tech layoffs of the 2020s using data from the tracker, Layoffs.fyi.
The Top 20 Layoffs of the 2020s
Since 2020, layoffs in the tech industry have been significant, accelerating in 2022 in particular. Here’s a look at the companies that laid off the most people over the last three years.
|Rank||Company||# Laid Off||% of Workforce||As of|
Layoffs were high in 2020 thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, halting the global economy and forcing staff reductions worldwide. After that, things were steady until the economic uncertainty of last year, which ultimately led to large-scale layoffs in tech—with many of the biggest cuts happening in the past three months.
The Cause of Layoffs
Most workforce slashings are being blamed on the impending recession. Companies are claiming they are forced to cut down the excess of the hiring boom that followed the pandemic.
Additionally, during this hiring craze competition was fierce, resulting in higher salaries for workers, which is now translating in an increased need to trim the fat thanks to the current economic conditions.
Of course, the factors leading up to these recent layoffs are more nuanced than simple over-hiring plus recession narrative. In truth, there appears to be a culture shift occurring at many of America’s tech companies. As Rani Molla and Shirin Ghaffary from Recode have astutely pointed out, tech giants really want you to know they’re behaving like scrappy startups again.
Twitter’s highly publicized headcount reduction in late 2022 occurred for reasons beyond just macroeconomic factors. Elon Musk’s goal of doing more with a smaller team seemed to resonate with other founders and executives in Silicon Valley, providing an opening for others in tech space to cut down on labor costs as well. In just one example, Mark Zuckerberg hailed 2023 as the “year of efficiency” for Meta.
Meanwhile, over at Google, 12,000 jobs were put on the chopping block as the company repositions itself to win the AI race. In the words of Google’s own CEO:
“Over the past two years we’ve seen periods of dramatic growth. To match and fuel that growth, we hired for a different economic reality than the one we face today… We have a substantial opportunity in front of us with AI across our products and are prepared to approach it boldly and responsibly.”– Sundar Pichai
The Bigger Picture in the U.S. Job Market
Beyond the tech sector, job openings continue to rise. Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revealed a total of 11 million job openings across the U.S., an increase of almost 7% month-over-month. This means that for every unemployed worker in America right now there are 1.9 job openings available.
Additionally, hiring increased significantly in January, with employers adding 517,000 jobs. While the BLS did report a decrease in openings in information-based industries, openings are increasing rapidly especially in the food services, retail trade, and construction industries.
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