Juenger: Cord Cutters Aren’t Coming Back

Cord-cutters over the age of 30 appear to be happy with their new TV situation and are unlikely to rejoin the pay TV fold, even as their economic situations change for the better, according to a recent focus-group study by Sanford Bernstein media analyst Todd Juenger.

Juenger, who has held theses focus group studies before on different topics before,conducted a two-day panel in Boston and New York on April 14 and April 21, asking a series of questions to a small group of “older “ (over 30 years of age) consumers who have recently severed their  pay TV relationship. Juenger was quick to acknowledge that the size of the group – about 31 men and women – was extremely small and that the research should not be used to project any qualitative findings. But it does provide insight into why some consumers do what they do.

According to the responses, the older cord-cutters were not influenced by specific offerings from OTT providers (which should be good news for traditional distributors, Juenger wrote) or by the loss of a job or other major economic event. Instead, the driving force behind the decision to cancel their pay TV subscriptions was mainly an “aha moment,” when the participants realized they could be spending the money they were shelling out for pay TV on more constructive things.

Most of the participants were still avid TV watchers – they on average confessed to watching about two to three hours of TV during weekdays and three to four hours on weekends. But instead of surfing 150 channels through a pay TV subscription, they meet those needs through over-the-air broadcasts, Netflix, Hulu and Roku subscriptions. In addition, once they change their habits, they are not likely to go back to the old linear TV model. Juenger wrote that the answer was almost unanimously "no" when asked if they would pay $5 per month to get their favorite channel back.

“The over-riding sentiment was: ‘we're good,’” Juenger wrote. “They are happy. They have discovered how easy it is to find content in other ways (including the widespread use of digital antennas). They have also discovered that they don't really miss having the TV on all the time.”