The accelerating rate of cord cutting and the flight of viewers from traditional television to digital options such as streaming services — especially among younger millennials — have changed the very definition of television, according to a new report by USA Today citing new Nielsen data.
“For the four weeks ending Oct. 28, coinciding with the start of the official TV season, the number of people ages 18 to 34 using TV has plunged 15% and is down 36% from 2014,” USA Today reports. “The drop-off among teens — 18% from last year and 48% since 2014 — is even more pronounced.”
In contrast, among people 55 and older — the most loyal group of viewers — the drop from 2017 to this year was only 2%.
Peter Katsingris, senior VP of audience insights at Nielsen, says the numbers reflect the new millennial mind-set.
“Younger generations are growing up with more choices at their fingertips,” Katsingris is quoted saying in the story. “They don’t know that you had to watch at 3 o’clock on a Wednesday if you wanted to see a show.”
USA Today adds: “In fact, the very definition of TV watching has changed. A broader measure of television usage that includes streaming through any device connected to a TV — but not websites or mobile apps — shows a less worrisome 5% yearly drop.”
The report also cites other data, including this: “For the three months ending Sept. 30, cable and satellite systems reported the loss of another 1 million customers, the largest quarterly drop yet. (About 40% of homes led by millennials don’t subscribe to cable or satellite services.)”