Cord-Nevers Grow to 12% of Adults: MRI-Simmons

Adults who have never subscribed to a traditional pay-TV service have grown to 12% of the population, up from 9% in 2017, according to a new study from MRI-Simmons.

These 31 million cord-nevers have a median age of 33 and their average household income is $52,800, up 27% from two years ago.

Among the cord-nevers, 27% said they plan to subscribe to a pay-TV service in the next six month. The majority of those (70%) will sign up with a traditional cable or satellite provider, with the rest going for virtual MVPDs like Sling TV or YouTube TV. Younger adults, in the 18-34 year old demo, were more likely to go for a virtual MVPD.

The reasons cord-never gave for signing up for pay-TV varied by age. Older viewers wanted to be able to channel surf, while younger viewers wanted access to shows and the ability to find them easily (see chart below).

“Young people used to say that, as soon as they got their first well-paying job, they would sign up for the full suite of traditional TV services,” said Karen Ramspacher, senior VP, Innovations & Insights at MRI-Simmons. “Today, there are many more options for connecting to TVideo content – so competition for these subscription dollars is fierce. As they grow in numbers and wealth, today’s Cord Nevers definitely represent an opportunity for content providers – but understanding the Nevers’ underlying motivations is essential to targeting them effectively.”

The MRI Cord Evolution study is based on about 24,000 in-person, in-home interviews. 

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.