There’s a reason 25-to-54-year-olds are referred to in television as the “money demo”: they’re the most desirable audience in terms of willingness to spend money on the products advertisers are buying commercial time for. They’re not seeing those ads on Netflix (or BitTorrent), and they’re only seeing a few on Hulu. Older viewers aren’t fleeing cable, but younger ones are — if they’re subscribers at all.
And part of the reason older viewers stick with cable is because it’s easy. There are certainly exceptions (and I’m sure they’ll make themselves known in the comments), but for the most part, older viewers are less likely to embrace new technology, even if it’ll save them a few bucks; thus, they’re less likely to drop cable and watch Netflix or Hulu on a Roku or Apple TV.
Which is why the idea of Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, and Charter making Netflix available to those viewers seems a little bananas. It’s certainly not going to gain them any new subscribers — anyone who doesn’t have cable and wants to watch Netflix on their television has probably figured out how to do so by now. But what it will do is possibly introduce the service to new, older viewers, or to show them that it can be enjoyed on a screen bigger than that eMachine in the basement. And then they might start to wonder why they’re spending $150 a month to make sure they can get all 23 MTV channels.
As a short-term attempt to be everything to everybody, Netflix/cable integration might make good PR (and it’s certainly good for Netflix stock). But as a long-term strategy for cable’s survival, it’s laughable. It doesn’t solve the price point problem, or present more choices for subscribers. It’s basically cable companies rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.