USA Today

Alarming New Data: Exodus of Younger Viewers From Traditional TV Is Accelerating

Nov 14, 2018  •  Post A Comment

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.)”


  1. “… (About 40% of homes led by millennials don’t subscribe to cable or satellite services.)”

    There’s something not right about this. The one constant I get almost everywhere from (and about) millennials is how they can’t afford (and don’t own) homes. If millennials are such a minority of home owners, how does their cord-cutting even matter?

    • They are talking about young viewers, aka Gen Z and the bottom half of millennials. Millennials are now getting old. Young people will always buy products and be the marketing favorites. Owning a home really has nothing to do with Adidas’ new running shoes and their desire for Colton to want them for Christmas.

  2. “homes led by millennials” doesn’t necessarily mean owned. Many millennial’s rent and lead their homes and paying the bills. My kids rent and don’t expect to purchase a home for at least five years. They also are not taking cable tv automatically with their broadband. They are using Roku and paying only for the networks they want to watch; and by doing so, are paying much less for overall television entertainment. If cable wants to compete, they need to let people pick what networks they want to pay for. People now have the option of buying only the channels they want to use. That is what cable is going to need to change if they want to compete, especially when 5G starts during the next few years. When 5G gets real penetration, the ground lines that carry broadband and cable now, are not going to be particularly useful.

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