TV Cord-Cutting Hits 6% Of Population, Millennials Most Likely To Drop Pay TV

Some 50% of adults under the age of 32 won’t pay for a traditional pay TV subscription service in 10 years. But overall TV consumer cord-cutting will only rise modestly.

A report from Forrester Research says those 18 to 31 will increasingly be dropping or avoiding a pay TV subscription package in the coming years. By 2025, half of those consumers will have either “never” had a TV package (35%) or  “cutting” the TV packages they had (15%).

Still, overall cord-cutting has only climbed to 6% of the population currently, says Forrester, and it will stay below a 15% ceiling. Forrester cautions that “rumors of the death of pay TV are greatly exaggerated.” People get tremendous value from those services.

By the end of this year, Forrester says 65% of those 18 to 31 will have a pay TV service, 25% have never have one, and 10% will be cutting a TV service they have or have already done so.



This compares with older TV consumers this year -- 32+ -- where 80% of this group has a pay TV service, 15% who never have had one; and 5% who will be cutting it or have already done so.

Looking at pay TV packages overall, Forrester says 18% of the U.S. population has never had a traditional pay TV service. Forrester surveyed over 35,000 Americans in April 2015 ages 18+.

15 comments about "TV Cord-Cutting Hits 6% Of Population, Millennials Most Likely To Drop Pay TV".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 7, 2015 at 12:28 p.m.

    Cord cutting is only at 6% of the population and will never exceed 15%??? Gulp! I thought that everybody was cord cutting. By next year or 2017, at the latest, the entire country---not counting those worthless oldsters, of course--- will have stormed the barricades of those TV bundlers and freed themselves from slavery. But not so, says Forrester.

    What say you, Leonard?

  2. Leonard Zachary from T___n__, October 7, 2015 at 3:25 p.m.

    The payTV bundle is the buggy whip model. No interest when everything is Free and available on the Internet. The cows have left the barn and the Farmer needs to figure out a new business model.

  3. Darrin Stephens from McMann & Tate, October 7, 2015 at 4:25 p.m.

    Forrester. Right.

  4. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC, October 7, 2015 at 6:01 p.m.

    Here's the best comment:  "Some 50% of adults under the age of 32 won’t pay for a traditional pay TV subscription service in 10 years" 

    And they know this how? And aren't they the same organization that helped stoke the fires of "no one will use brick and mortar in 10 years"...back in 1999?

    As trustworthy as a PT Barnum act...

  5. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, October 7, 2015 at 6:23 p.m.

    This is the same war of opinion that was fought over the DVR.  15 years ago it was only 2% then only 4% then only 6%. Now it's much higher, but the legacy voices ignored the trend. The tipping point will arrive sooner than anyone wants to admit.

  6. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 7, 2015 at 6:48 p.m.

    Yes, Douglas, but can you explain why the typical DVR user devotes only 25-30% of his/her viewing time with delayed TV fare, with most of the rest going to "live", ad-supported TV content? Why isn't all of the DVR user's viewing done on a delayed basis? And why is it that only 50% of the commercials in ad-supported TV programs that are taped for delayed viewing are zapped? Originally, when DVRs were in their early adopter stage, the figure was much higher---around 75%. How is this decline in zapping explained?

    The plain fact that you, Leonard, and others will one day have to accept is that a lot of people are fine with commercials---except when there are too many of them in a break. Contrary to some of the statements one sees on Media Post ---namely that 35-40% of ad-free TV content consists of commercials--- the actual figure is 25% and that does not take into account the fact that there are fewer ads in primetime, which accounts for about 30-35% on the typical adult's viewing time. In "TV Dimensions 2015", and the upcoming 2016 edition, we analyze the amount of commercials that the average adult is exposed to relative to how many get some level of attention and how many "make a sale". The numbers are much lower than many would think. Most people are perfectly capable of avoiding or ignoring only those commercials they find irrelevant or otherwise not worthy of their time. They don't want a total boycot of all commercials---as you obviously desire.

  7. Leonard Zachary from T___n__ replied, October 8, 2015 at 8:16 a.m.

    The plain fact is Ed you do not have a Netflix account, you have not spent time on YouTube (or Vice or so many other platforms, Plex anyone) or have a smart phone. I have asked you directly......?

  8. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 8, 2015 at 9:13 a.m.

    You are right, Leonard, I don't have---or desire--- a Netflix subscription, though I have viewed some of its content via my relatives. Nor do I want or need a smartphone. However, I have spent quite a bit of time on YouTube looking at videos---not home-made drivel like puppies falling into pails of water, people acting silly, etc. I haven't time for that. In all three cases I say---SO WHAT?

    I could ask you some questions about your own experience like have you ever bought tens of millions of dollars of TV network time, or planned major media campaigns for advertisers or conducted major reaserch studies on TV show appeals, consumer mind sets, product use, media usage patterns, etc. etc. etc. In my view, if your answer to such questions happens to be "no", that diesn't disqualify you from having an opinion or expressing it---providing you are willing to listen to what someone with a different take on the subject has to say.

  9. Leonard Zachary from T___n__ replied, October 8, 2015 at 1:31 p.m.

    Ignorance is Bliss.

    You are out of touch with the most important demographic Advertisers seek to reach - the Younger Folk. 

    The same Young Folk who are migrating to the C suite of many Advertisers with a whole different view of what TV network time is......

  10. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 8, 2015 at 2:50 p.m.

    Ignorance is, indeed, bliss, Leonard.

    If you took the trouble to study what consumer segments advertisers target the most and who buys the most products, you would realize that "millennials" are not the primary target of most advertisers. They often are part of the target but those aged 35-54 constitute, by a wide margin in many cases, the best current prospects for many marketers, with the over 50 group often coming in a close second. You may argue that this is wrong; since "young folks" represent the  future, they should be the real targets, however most marketers are not as worried about what will---or may happen--- 10-15 years from now as they are about their current ad campaigns and sales.

    As for Millennials, they have always been the restless ones who are most likely to zap commercials, or leave the room when the ads appear on their TV screens. They are also the most receptive to any new communications technology, be it TV when it first appeared, or VCRs, 35 years ago, the Internet, 20 years ago, or DVRs 15 years ago and, currently, SVOD services, smartphone videos, etc. However, volumetrically, these quests for something new soon peter out or level off, leaving the rest of the population to catch up----which it does up to a point. Except for TV itself, that point is never 100%. Meanwhile, the millennials are off jumping on yet another bandwagon and another, etc.

    Since you desperately want to prove your theory that the TV networks are doomed, that everyone---or almost everyone who is worth anything----is going to block TV commercials by using user generated YouTube videos and Netflix as 100% substitutes for CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, ESPN, TNT, USA, etc. ---you, quite naturally, sieze upon any evidence, no matter how slim, that appears to support your case. So any study that seems to show millennials "abandoning" old fashioned "linear TV" becomes your gospel. When out-of-touch types like myself, who actually look at all of the data---old and well as current data---point out that you are wildly overstating the case and cite figures to prove it, your retort is that I'm "out of touch with millennials" and since I don't watch smartphone videos, you imply that I'm not qualified to comment, despite the available evidence regarding smartphone video usage---which shows that it is a minor factor even in the lives of most millennials.

    I'm sorry, Leonard, but until I see really solid evidence that supports your vision of the evolving media world, I'm sticking to my guns. I would hope that we can conduct our debates on a professional level, without disparaging personal characterizations.

  11. John Harpur from Yellow Submarine, October 8, 2015 at 4:25 p.m.

    Ed. You have alwasy been media Yoda for me. Questions: You say only 50% of recorded TV is "zapped" (assuming you mean fast-forwarded). What is Nielsen's criteria for accrediting a commercial pod as viewed in regular time? Isn't the criteria just a few seconds or am I mistaken?  

  12. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 8, 2015 at 4:46 p.m.

    Thanks, John.

    As I'm not a Nielsen subscriberand can't get an "official" answer,  I don't have the exact explanation of how Nielsen calculates commercial minute ratings---perhaps someone from Nielsen or a subscriber will be good enough to answer for me. My understanding is that due to the fact that there is a variable mix of commercial lengths, that Nielsen takes the mid point of the minute as its base, even though this may slightly overstate the "audience" for each "15" or "30" by a slight amount.

    Regarding the DVR "zapping" rate, yes, I believe that fast forwarding past the commercials is the primary avoidance mechanism. The 50% figure has been widely cited as the current norm---I assume for primetime network fare----while older data I have seen indicated that the figures for early adopters were higher.

  13. Leonard Zachary from T___n__ replied, October 9, 2015 at 1:54 p.m.

    Ed don't take it personal- I have never posted disparaging personal characterizations.

    Sorry Ed you're Wrong on that one too.......

  14. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 9, 2015 at 4:15 p.m.

    Leonard, I try not to take it personally, however I doubt that I'm wrong on this one. I leave it for other readers to draw their own conclusions.

  15. John Grono from GAP Research, October 10, 2015 at 2:51 a.m.

    Ed.   I can't aver that Nielsen uses the "middle-second" attribution of viewing for the minute but it is the most common model.   I believe that in the '90s Nielsen used the "dominant channel" model but changed with A/P.

    And before people leap in and say why don't we just use second-by-second data and get it right, there are a myriad of reasons such as latency, clock-drift, STB lag etc etc that means such data is more likely to return 'false positives' and false negatives.   Or as learned friend once described it to me ... it is a non-existent vanity of precision.

    As for the millennials debate, the "young folk" have always been renegades rejecting the status quo.   Indeed the "young folk" of the rebellious '60s now are the dominant 55+ TV viewers.   Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

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