A life spent without a cable bill?

The new term is “cord-nevers.” It seems to stem from a series of articles over the past year in The Atlantic talking about the generation born after 1980 who may never get traditional pay-TV. They’re perfectly happy to make do with streaming options, and they’re (not) putting where their mouth is (not) and refusing to pay triple-digit monthly costs for cable.

For the first time, it’s possible that cord-nevers will have a real, measurable impact on the pay-TV industry’s bottom line. Bloomberg reports that pay-TV’s total number of subscribers are set to decline this year for the first time… ever.

When you dig deep into the numbers, it’s looking like doom and gloom for the traditional cable companies. While phone companies dig into cable revenues on one end, satellite TV (which has never been stronger) digs in on the other end. Add those who choose to go to antenna and it’s a bad time to be on the Time Warner Cable board.

Every marketer will tell you that folks aged 18-34 are the best and most desirable group to sell to. They’re setting lifelong habits and they’re far more willing to pay for luxury goods. It’s those folks who represent the nightmare scenario for cable companies — they have no loyalty to any traditional provider and see no value in those big bills. They’d rather spend the money on smartphone data plans.

With traditional land line phones all but dead, this trend has to worry phone companies as well. AT&T and Verizon have successfully transitioned their focus from land line to wireless and internet, but they’ve also spent millions on TV delivery and that investment may never pay off.

Are you a “cord-never” or the parent of one? Do you think this is a trend to worry about, or do you think the allure of live TV on a big screen will eventually draw cord-nevers back into the fold?

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.