Young, financial-types all over New York City are cutting the cord and utilizing gaming consoles as their primary living room media devices.
…or more accurately, like a proper Times trend piece, this assertion is based on my own behavior, along with corroboration from a few passing conversations with friends in the industry.
I made the switch three months back, moving my Apple TV to the bedroom, and making the Xbox One the main media device in my living room. I’m a full convert and was spreading the gospel to a few trader friends, only to find out they had long ago done so.
I cut the cord to cut costs. It puzzled me why a group of traders who could easily afford cable would not only cut the cord, but why they’d choose an Xbox One or PS4 as their primary media device. My anecdotal, non-scientific findings:
This is the biggest reason. You’re dealing with a group of users who fit a very specific demographic: all between 25-35 and male. We’ve grown up with a video game controller in our hand. These controllers aren’t something that need to be learned, they’re almost an extension of our bodies. Even with all it’s hardware expertise, the Apple TV remote is still an odd piece of equipment. Smart TV remotes are the same thing, each a unique beast that requires hours of upfront commitment. Our generation has grown up navigating television screens with gaming controllers.
The User Interface
These gaming consoles might be from Microsoft and Sony, companies not exactly known for their design chops, but they’ve managed to make these systems better than what’s out there. The Apple TV interface in no way resembles the intuitive nature of iOS, and other than maybe Samsung, Smart TV interfaces generally feel like programming a VCR. The gaming industry knows better than anyone how to drive action on a TV screen, and it really shows.
Sports, Sports, Sports
This was the most interesting behavioral change in the group. The main hesitation for cutting the cord always used to be around watching live sports. Sony and Microsoft have not only allayed this concern, they’ve turned it into an advantage. One friend told me he specifically cut the cord to “justify subscribing to MLB.tv, Sunday Ticket, and NBA Game Time”, with two citing last year’s Madden 25 Sunday Ticket promotion as the moment they crossed the rubicon. Both console companies seem keenly aware that sports are where they can really differentiate themselves for their audience, and seem to be aggressively pushing this path.
So much like the classic trend piece, this is the where I insert my personal agenda into what appears to be a general observation about the world around us.
CNBC still dominates every trading floor television and it’s a monopoly that is tough to beat. After 12 years of personal observation, they still dominate nearly every television. To Bloomberg, the FT, the WSJ, or any creator of financial video: reach the new generation when we’re at home and in ways that fit into our lives. Become our evening habit and build your brand on the devices where we’re already spending time. Let us navigate your menus with two thumbs and two fingers.
Build apps for gaming consoles.