The cord-nevers demographic, once looked upon with mild interest by the pay-TV industry, has "eclipsed" cord-cutters in size, a new report from Forrester Research states, and the industry needs to learn now how to best serve this upcoming generation of video consumers who have never had a cable subscription and likely never will.
"By 2025, 50 percent of all TV viewers under age 32 will not pay for TV as we understand it today. CMOs must experiment on cord-nevers and cord-cutters now to learn how to serve them later," the report said.
Cord-nevers make up 18 percent of the population, compared to cord-cutters who make up just 6 percent of the U.S. population, the report reveals, according to a Wall Street Journal article. Most of those who have never paid a pay-TV subscription are now aged 32 and older, with about 7 percent of cord-nevers ranging between 18 and 31.
The study surveyed 32,000 U.S. adults, finding that about 76 percent of them have a pay-TV subscription.
So, are cord-nevers going to be an encroaching threat to pay-TV's dominant position in the U.S. media landscape? That may depend on how the industry approaches them. While current advice seems to range around actively stopping cord-nevers from getting access to premium content -- limiting password sharing, for example -- providers, distributors and content owners more likely need to figure out how to bring cord-nevers into some sort of paid status without forcing them to become subscribers.
That's not to say that many, if not most companies involved in delivering content aren't already implementing strategies that target this younger, pay TV-eschewing demographic. Verizon's new go90 service is one of the first large-scale examples of an OTT service that's actively working to capture a younger, more mobile generation that has little interest in paying subscription fees; in the meantime, venerable entertainment players are catering more toward this younger demographic, like Disney/ABC Television Group's move to change the ABC Family network's name to Freeform.
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