Reports are rampant that younger audiences are shunning traditional TV in favor of YouTube videos on the Internet, and that they are "cutting the cord" of cable programming as a moneysaving move or because they deem TV an outmoded way to watch.
Pivot's research has found otherwise.
"There is no such thing as a cord-cutter," Shapiro said. "They all have broadband — and it's bringing them everything they want, including video. So we decided to reframe the conversation."
Pivot has identified two main groups within its prospective audience: cable TV subscribers who watch "television" across multiple platforms, and viewers who subscribe only to broadband.
Pivot will accommodate both groups.
"It's the first channel that's available both through traditional pay-television bundling, and via your broadband provider as a stand-alone (service)," he said. For an extra monthly fee (described as less than the cost of a cup of diner coffee) through the Pivot app on any device, "subscribers will be able to take this channel, both live streaming and on-demand, with you wherever you go in the world."
Online features will include a "Take Action" button to access information about social issues touched on in each program, customized to the viewer's locale and interests.
Shapiro believes this dual source could be a game-changer for the TV industry, making a "television" channel available to any viewer regardless of the chosen delivery device. Pivot could be the first of many "a la carte" broadband channels offered to subscribers weary of paying for whole tiers of cable-TV networks.
Such an arrangement meets the demands of younger viewers, said Shapiro, as overwhelmingly expressed in Pivot's research: "I want to watch what I want where I want when I want."
How will Pivot be greeted by this demanding audience?
"The market is a gauge of our success. But social change is an equally important, if not more important, gauge." Together, said Shapiro, they're what the company refers to as its "double bottom line."