New research from GfK MRI finds that almost three-quarters (71 percent) of all U.S. consumers say they have a cable, satellite or telco TV service and have no plans to drop it.
This includes the majority of the 18-to-34 age group (58 percent), as well as 69 percent of people ages 35 to 49, and 80 percent of those 50 and over.
Reliability and comfort are top reasons that viewers cite for sticking with their pay-TV subscriptions. Among adults ages 18 to 64, the number one reason for keeping pay TV is simply being “used to it,” followed by “convenient to have everything in one place” and “I need it to watch the shows I want to watch.”
Large numbers of pay-TV subscribers are adding to their cord services rather than replacing them. More than half (55 percent) of loyal pay-TV customers are “stacking” other services—such as subscription streaming video—on top of cable or satellite access. Among the 18-to-34 set, the proportion of “stackers” rises to 76 percent.
Although around three-quarters of consumers are still “loyal to the cord,” MRI has seen a 6 percentage point decline in this group since 2015, from 77 percent of all U.S. adults to 71 percent now.
“The fact is that pay-TV services still account for most of the TV watching that happens in the U.S.,” said Amy Hunt, VP of TVideo Media Sales at MRI. “Many of their subscribers simply cannot imagine a new way of doing things. But as younger generations more comfortable with streaming technologies set up households, cable and satellite companies need to find ways to remain attractive and relevant.”