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Cord Cutters Are Millennials...And Everyone Else

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It’s no coincidence that all in the same month, Netflix announces earnings surpassing expectations (remember when pundits were predicting their imminent demise?) and Comcast announces plans to launch a competing streaming service. It’s clear the streaming space -- Netflix, Hulu, etc. -- is gaining momentum and becoming a viable alternative to traditional cable services such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable. Customers ditching cable for streaming, a group known as “cord cutters,” benefit from lower pricing, no commercials, and the opportunity/curse to binge-watch their favorite TV shows and movies.

Press and commentary around the cord-cutting movement focus on how millennials are responsible for the mass exodus from cable. Millennials value the comparably low cost of streaming and do most of their TV watching on tablets, smartphones, and computers - basically everything other than a TV1. We’re here to tell you that it’s not just the millennials who are making the move; your 80-year-old neighbor is almost as likely to cut the cord as the 22-year-old Starbucks barista.

49% of millennials rely on streaming as their only source of TV entertainment but other generations are not far behind; 37% of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers rely solely on streaming as well. Let’s think of this another way. 60% of Baby Boomers and 66% of Gen Xers use some form of a streaming service compared to 71% of millennials. Streaming companies are receiving an even spread of customers no matter what generation.

It’s time we stop using millennials as the cord-cutting scapegoat and accept streaming for what it is: a low-cost cable alternative or supplement with a variety of content that appeals to all generations, not just millennials.

Behind The Data: We analyzed data from panelists who have made purchases at major streaming and/or cable and satellite companies. The companies included in this data set are Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video On-Demand, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, DirecTV, and DISH Network. We then bucketed purchases by customer to identify whether they used only cable, only streaming, or both services. Using panelist demographic data, we separated out users into age groups and generations as well.

Learn more about consumer spending analytics with TXN.

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