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Survey: Younger Groups Still Heavy Pay TV Consumers

In a wide-ranging study of video consumption, PwC has found that widely reported cord-cutting among younger people has been significantly overstated but that many consumers are avid users of over-the-top content and that second screen behavior has become widespread, with around 55% interacting with mobile devices while watching TV.

The survey found that traditional pay TV subscriptions remain valuable to most consumers, with 70% of respondents subscribing to cable services and 26% saying they had satellite subscription.

It also upended a number of widely held views about the video consumption of younger groups, which are often said to have abandoned pay TV. In fact, younger people aged 18 to 24 had the highest level of cable subscriptions, at 77%, followed by the 25 to 34 age group at 73%.

The survey also found large numbers of people supplementing their pay TV subscriptions with other services, such as Netflix or Hulu.

Younger people were more likely than the general population to have subscriptions to Netflix, with 56% of those aged 18 to 24 and 51% of those aged 25-34 subscribing to the service compared to 41% overall.

About 26% of those aged 25-34 subscribed to Amazon Prime compared to 18% of those aged 18 to 24 and 18% for the overall population.

Roughly 7% of those aged 18 to 24 subscribed to Hulu, compared to 10% of those aged 25-34 and 8% for the overall population.

A key factor in consumer interest in other OTT services was that they allowed them to more easily find content via recommendations and their ability to provide video to multiple devices on demand.

Many respondents (63%) also cited the importance of original programming, with this being particularly important for the 25-34 age group (72%).

Significant minorities of people also expressed a preference for a la carte packages.

Younger groups which are often cited as leading the charge to a la carte pricing, were least interested in the idea, with 38% of those aged 18 to 24 and 43% of those aged 25 to 34 saying they would prefer an a la carte package they could put together. Overall, 44% said they would prefer such a package.

Younger people were also the most likely to say they would prefer to have the full package of programming so they had more choices, with 21% of those aged 18 to 24 and 15% of those 25 to 34 expressing that view. Overall 14% of the population said they would like the full package of programming.

In terms of second screen viewing, about 55% said they used their mobile devices while watching TV, with the 25-34 age group being the biggest second screen users with 65%. But only 39% said they were interested or very interested in using their mobile devices to access additional content related to specific TV shows they often watch.

The findings from PwC's "Consumer Intelligence Series: Video Content Consumption" were based on a survey of 1008 respondents conducted in June of 2013 combined with focus groups aged 21-34 and 35-49 in Los Angeles in July of 2013.