It's probably no coincidence that pay-TV subscription numbers are declining at the same time that the Late Millennial age group of 18-to-24-year-old adults is trending away from traditional broadcast/cable TV to online sources.
According to research from The Diffusion Group (TDG) there is a noticeable drop-off in television viewing among the younger set compared to predecessor generations, including the Early Millennial group aged 25-to-34.
"It is hardly breaking news that older consumers watch more live broadcast and cable programming than do younger consumers, or that younger consumers watch more OTT TV than do older consumers," Michael Greeson, co-founder of TDG said in a press release. "That said, the strong correlation between age and TV sourcing preferences is striking and is of tremendous import for operators and networks looking to target specific age groups."
The TDG research indicated that Late Millennials spend 33 percent of their daily time watching online compared to 29 percent watching broadcast/cable. This skews from even the next generation up, Early Millennials, who view traditional TV sources 30 percent of the time and online 23 percent. Traditional broadcast and cable, of course, is the video source of choice for adult broadband users over 55, who spend 61 percent of their TV time watching that medium compared to 4 percent viewing online sources.
The TDG research parallels a report by SNL Kagan that U.S. MVPDs posted their first full year decline in video subscriptions in 2013, when the overall service provider space dropped 251,000 subscribers, although it is less likely that the viewing choices of the young have greatly influenced the subscription figures for established MVPDs.
"Losses from cable providers fueled the overall declines, but the estimated figures for the industry did show improvement in the fourth quarter on both sequential and year-over-year comparisons," said an SNL Kagan press release which noted cable operators lost 2 million video subscribers in the full year.
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