Cord Cutting Adults - Demographics, Motivations, and Desires

Goals

To have a broad understanding of the typical demographics of cord-cutting adults, as well as what their motivations are for getting rid of cable. An ideal response would also include what these cord cutting adults want from a streaming service that doesn't exist yet.

Early Findings

  • We were not provided a geographic focus for this research, so we assumed a United States view. If a more broad approach is desired, for example, a global focus, or a different country, this would have to be clearly communicated to us in any reply.
  • For the purposes of this research, we are pointing out that just because a household doesn’t have Pay TV service, doesn’t mean they are a cord cutter. As many Millennials enter the workforce, they simply do not see the benefit of paying hundreds of dollars a month on cable service and are often referred to as ‘Cord Nevers’. "A cord cutter is someone who once did pay for TV, then canceled their service in favor of cheaper and/or more customer friendly alternatives such as streaming or the use of a DTV antenna."
  • According to a Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) 2017 study Americans aged 25 to 34 are the primary cord cutters. More specifically, 90% of Americans between the age of 25 and 34 access TV content via the internet. "The second largest cohort of cord cutters are Americans from the 18-25 age group at 87%. Next are the cord cutters aged 35-49 (78%), while the lowest percentage of those who’ve cut the cord comes from the age group of 50 to 59 (63%)."
  • The PwC report also finds that “cord trimmers” (those who have scaled back their pay-TV subscriptions but still have them) "watch more services regularly (2.8 on average) than do traditional pay-TV subscribers (an average of 2), and cord-cutters and cord-nevers (who average 1.8 collectively). This supports the notion that cord-cutters tend to be lighter consumers overall. The finding that cord-trimmers watch more services on average suggests that streaming services generally are used to complement rather than completely replace pay-TV content."
  • According to Statistica, the share of pay TV consumers who canceled their service in the last 12 months in the United States as of November 2017, by age group are Generation Z (31%), Millennials (22%), Generation X (30%), Baby Boomers (25%), and Matures (Silent Generation) (25%).
  • The reasons given for cutting the cord, can vary from being too expensive (86.7%), to using a streaming service instead (39.7%), to having moved and never plan on using cable again (13%).
  • According to this paywalled source, the share of households without a Telco, cable or satellite TV provider amounted to 36.1 percent in 2018, up from 30.6 percent the year before. In early 2018, the source forecasted that by the end of that year the number of households without a traditional TV subscription would stand at 36.76 million, up from 22.5 million four years previously.
  • This paywalled statistic presents data on the average household income of cord cutters in the United States in 2017. According to the source, 56 percent of cord cutters had an average household income of less than 50 thousand U.S. dollars in 2017.
  • This source contains a graphic that provides the states where the most cord cutting is taking place.
  • "Cordcutting.com’s analysis estimates there are now 142.5 million streaming consumers in the U.S., and now 34% have fully cut the cord with pay TV. That’s up 4 percentage points since its last survey in 2019. Gen Z is the most likely demographic to have cut the cord, as 45% are streaming-only customers, while just 17% of Baby Boomers are."

Summary Of Our Early Findings Relevant To The Goals

  • As mentioned at the top of this document, we were not provided a geographic focus for this research, so we assumed a United States view. If a more broad approach is desired, for example, a global focus, or a different country, this would have to be clearly communicated to us in any reply.
  • Our initial hour of research focused on ensuring that most of the data would be available publicly and/or that any paywalled sites would have excerpts of salient data. We also provided some data surrounding the typical demographics of a cord cutter, as well as some reasons why they get rid of cable and become that "cord cutter".
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Proposed next steps:

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