SCARY STUFF: Half of millennials won’t have pay-TV in ten years

Millennials. They ruin everything, with their expensive haircuts and skinny jeans and bizarre attachment to vinyl records. And now they’ve set their sights on traditional television.

Actually, I kid the folks born between 1980-1995, but I’m sure they’ve all heard the term “hate us because they ain’t us.” At any rate, the point here is that a recent study suggests that the pace of cord-cutting and cord-nevering (which I’ll explain in a minute) is only accelerating, and within ten years over half of the people under 35 will not subscribe to traditional pay television service.

Oh yeah, cord-nevering. You’ve probably heard about cord-cutting, where people turn off traditional pay-TV in favor of antenna and streaming services. Cord-nevers are those folks who have never paid a cable bill, because after leaving their parents’ homes they simply never subscribed to cable service. They’re the growing segment of the pay-TV-less population, growing faster than true cord-cutters.

Now as far as that study, it’s behind a $500 paywall, but our friends at DSLReports summarize it nicely, even pulling some charts. It’s worth a little time to read. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

For those who have left pay-TV behind, they live quite happily with a combination of streaming services and antennas that let them get free HDTV. Avoiding high bills is the initial motivation, but often times the high level of quality you get from an antenna combined with all the free over-the-air content the cable companies won’t give you is what continues to hook people.

In the meantime, studies like this have to be causing concern for pay-TV companies all over the country, especially if they don’t have a robust internet service to offer as well. The very need to grow internet while pay-TV stays on ever shakier ground is why AT&T and DIRECTV got together and why AT&T plans on major infrastructure upgrades in the coming years. Because really, if you’re providing service to the home, it doesn’t necessarily matter whether it’s so-called “TV” or so-called “internet” – it’s all information and it often travels down the same wire.

The people who really need to take some antacids after reading this are those content providers who try to jack up costs for everyone. This is a direct stab at those companies who charge ever-increasing rates for channels that are showing reruns half the time, and at broadcasters who try to make up for declining ad revenues by holding up pay-TV companies. While DIRECTV and other pay-TV companies will survive, it’s the content providers who are really being told that their stuff isn’t really worth what they’re charging.

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.