A Widening Age Gap Between Cord-cutters and Pay-TV Subscribers

by | Sep 27, 2017 | Blog, News | 0 comments

What’s a pay-TV service provider to do? If the recent cord-cutting forecast by eMarketer wasn’t bad enough, TiVo has just released findings from its own study that shows loyal pay-TV subscribers are aging. When you add the recent Comcast announcement that it expects to lose 150,000 pay-TV subs this quarter, it’s painting a bleak picture for traditional pay-TV.

The TiVo study, based on online surveys of some 2,500 US consumers, found that loyal pay-TV subscribers are aging. Customers that subscribed to pay TV services for at least four years are “much more likely to be baby boomers instead of millennials,” the report found; and among those loyal subscribers who have had pay-TV for four or more years, 51% are boomers, while only 11% are millennials.

The study also found that 1 in 4 respondents who have subscribed to pay-TV for less than a year said they were “extremely likely” to cut the cord. In total, 55% of pay TV respondents were considered tenured subscribers, meaning that 45% of the pay TV subscriber pool are relatively new subscribers.

“Service providers must focus on delivering entertainment experiences that are compelling,” said Paul Stathacopoulos, vice president of strategy and research at TiVo. He went on to say said pay-TV providers should focus on technology innovation to help boost retention, “while attracting young consumers by adapting the TV experience to include a wide array of internet video services and viewing devices.”

This trend is also apparent in the recent report from eMarketer in which the firm estimates the number of U.S. pay TV viewers ages 55 and older will continue to rise through 2021, while the share of younger pay-TV subs will decline.

It also shows that the trend is occurring faster than previously believed. The forecast is for 22.2 million U.S. adults to have cut the cord on cable, satellite or telco TV service by the end 2017—that’s up 33% over 2016.

“Younger audiences continue to switch to either exclusively watching [over-the-top] video or watching them in combination with free-TV options,” said eMarketer senior forecasting analyst Chris Bendtsen. “Last year, even the Olympics and presidential elections could not prevent younger audiences from abandoning pay TV.”

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