Despite the hype, Millennials aren't cutting the cord, that much
Michelle Clancy | 01-05-2014
A report from eMarketer shows that the current buzz about cord-cutting is ahead of actual behaviour.

The proliferation of digital video has raised the spectre of large-scale cord-cutting by Millennials, or those aged 18-29. The plausible premise is that this young demographic gets so much video online that they see little incentive to pay for cable or satellite service or for premium channels. But that premise hasn't quite translated to reality.

"Millennials are indeed more likely than their elders to forgo pay-TV services, as one would expect of people who have tight budgets and the technological savvy to access tons of free online video," the firm said. "But they have yet to cut those cords en masse."

Quantitative data backs this up: November 2013 polling from Verizon Digital Media Services found that just 13% of Millennials making do without any pay-TV service — a higher number than for non-Millennials (9%), but not high enough to count as widespread in absolute terms.

There are signs, however, that the movement away from pay-TV, as slow as it may be, is inexorable. An Altman Vilandrie & Company survey in July 2013 found that 47% of 18-24-year-olds and 40% of 25-34-year-olds spent less on cable due to the availability of digital video, eMarketer pointed out.

"There is some basis for the perception that Millennials want to spend less for TV service," the report said. "One caveat: People sometimes profess a greater frugality than they really practise."

Meanwhile, an Ipsos MediaCT report from October 2013 gave a sense of the mixed state of play on this issue. While fewer than one in ten Millennials identified themselves as cord-cutters or 'cord-nevers', about three in ten said they had reduced pay service within the six months before being queried.