Market Overview

Almost 3/4 of US Consumers Have a TV Cord and Plan to Keep It – MRI


Among those who have pay-TV service, 97% have no plans to cut the cord

While cord cutting and shaving may be challenges for pay-TV
providers, the vast majority of US consumers still say they are not
ready to give up on these proven and deeply established sources of

New Cord Evolution research from GfK
shows that almost three-quarters (71%) of all US consumers say
they have cable, satellite, or telco TV service and have no plans to
drop it. This includes the majority of the crucial 18-to-34 age group
(58%), as well as 69% of people ages 35 to 49, and 80% of those 50 and

to view an infographic based on this study.

Reliability and comfort are top reasons that these viewers cite for
sticking with their cords. Among adults ages 18 to 64, the #1 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."

Young adults (ages 18 to 34), however, are more likely to cite channel
surfing and access to live content as reasons why they are sticking with
their cords.

Large numbers of pay-TV subscribers are adding to their cord services
rather than replacing them. Over half (55%) of pay-TV loyalists are
"stacking" other services – such as subscription streaming video – on
top of cable or satellite access. Among 18-to-34 loyalists, the
proportion of "stackers" rises to 76%.

Cord trends since 2015

Although roughly 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% of all US adults to 71% now. And among those 18 to 34,
this metric has fallen 9 points, from 67% to 58%, in the same timeframe.

MRI's research also shows that 52% of these pay-TV loyalists in the
50-plus age group have never streamed and only access TV through
traditional pay-TV services.

"The fact is that pay-TV services still account for most of the TV
watching that happens in the US," 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."

These findings come from MRI's Cord Evolution research and are based on
24,000 in-person, in-home interviews in MRI's Survey of the American
Consumer®, asking about cord intentions. Cord Evolution research tracks
levels of "cord disruption" (who is cutting, who is increasing) among 10
unique viewing groups, revealing the impact of new digital offerings on
traditional cord subscriptions and linear behavior. This research
measures not just what and how they are watching, but also
the why's behind their viewing and subscription choices.

MRI's Survey
of the American Consumer®
represents the gold standard in
traditional planning and consumer insights. It is accredited by the Media
Rating Council
(MRC), which conducts annual audits of MRI's
methodology, fieldwork, analytics, and data handling systems. On behalf
of clients and the industry, the MRC assures that audience measurement
services are valid, reliable, and effective.

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