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Cord-cutters and cord-nevers: Changing the way we consume content

More consumers are cutting the cord on traditional TV — and not just younger generations who have grown up with YouTube and Netflix. While millions of Americans are canceling their pay TV subscriptions, that doesn’t mean they’re spending less time in front of screens. Instead, they’ve turned to video on demand, live streaming services and over-the-top (OTT) platforms delivered directly over internet connected devices.

And it’s easier than ever, thanks to the growing options available to consumers.

While about 85 percent of U.S. households still pay for traditional TV, a report by TDG Research predicts that up to 40 percent of Americans will cut the cord by 2030. While cost is a factor, so too is a generational shift. A Pew Research Center poll found that 61 percent of young adults (aged 18 to 29) primarily watch TV via online streaming services.

Some are ‘cord-nevers’ — meaning they’ve never paid for a cable or satellite subscription and likely never will. Then there are ‘cord-trimmers’ who have trimmed down to pay for on-demand streaming services. But cord-cutters are catching up: eMarketer predicts the number of cord-cutters will nearly equal the number of cord-nevers by 2021.

A slew of studies and reports cite the high cost of cable as the No. 1 reason for cord-cutting — particularly when consumers have low-cost options that offer compelling, original content. But it’s also being driven by a desire to watch content whenever, wherever and however they want over multiple devices, including mobile phones.

Indeed, streaming video services have “crossed the chasm,” according to Deloitte Insights, with 55 percent of U.S. households subscribing to paid streaming video services — growing a whopping 450 percent in less than a decade. They can now choose from more than 200 subscription video on-demand (SVoD) services; they’re subscribing, on average, to three, and watching 38 hours of video content each week.

That trend isn’t slowing down any time soon. Online, mobile and non-linear viewing continues to increase. Content and media companies are restructuring their business models to align with viewer behavior. From an infrastructure perspective, the changing ways we consume content will continue to drive the demand for high quality, low latency bandwidth.

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