4 in 10 Teens Say They Don’t Have Cable, an Afterthought in Daily Video Time

May 2, 2022

Fewer than half of US households are forecast to subscribe to a traditional pay-TV service next year, and these changes in video service distribution and consumption are being reflected in Piper Sandler’s latest semi-annual survey of teens in the US. Indeed, some 41% say they don’t have cable in this Spring 2022 survey, more than double the share (17%) who said the same 5 years ago.

Moreover, 8% of teens replied that they are expecting their household to cancel their cable subscription within the next 6 months, representing more than 1 in 8 of those teens who do have cable TV. That leaves just 52% of teens surveyed both having a cable subscription and not expecting it to be canceled within the coming 6 months. For reference, going back through 6 years of the study (or 12 semi-annual surveys), a high of 75% of teens in Fall 2016 said that they had a cable subscription and were not expecting its cancellation.

It’s possible that teens are having a say in cord-cutting, given that traditional TV viewing is much less prevalent in this demographic and that younger people tend to be more likely than their older counterparts to plan to cut the cord. Moreover, youths’ most indispensable programming sources are now entirely made up of streaming services.

Netflix’s Share of Time Gradually Declining

Netflix has massive reach around the world, but it is seeing some challenges from other streaming services. Though it has in this survey long dueled with YouTube for share of teens’ daily video time (mostly maintaining an edge), it appears to be retreating somewhat. Indeed, teens estimated spending 30% of their daily video consumption on Netflix, down from 32% a year earlier and 37% in the Spring of 2019. This latest survey’s result puts it squarely on level footing with YouTube (also 30% share of daily video time), which has only dipped by 2% points since 2019 (32% share).

Cable TV is certainly not picking up the slack. This Spring 2022 survey indicates that only 6% of teens’ daily video consumption takes place on cable TV, less than half the figure from Spring 2019 (14%).

Instead it’s the inclusion of other streaming services that are bringing down the averages. In fact, almost one-third of teens’ daily video consumption is occurring on platforms other than YouTube or Netflix. Popular among those are Hulu (8% share of daily video time), Disney+ (7% share), HBO Max (6% share), Amazon Prime (3% share), and a collection of other streaming services (7% share).

About the Data: The Spring 2022 findings are based on a survey of 7,100 US teens with an average age of 16.2.

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