Can We Close the Age Gap in Pay TV? Can We Close the Age Gap in Pay TV?

It’s a common saying that age is just a number, but when it comes to watching television, it could be a whole lot more than that.

A new survey by TDG Research seems to show a clear divide between young and old Americans as to their preferences for viewing television content. The survey, which focused on dual-service users, asked respondents to choose between legacy pay-TV or streaming services, if they could only choose one.

Not surprisingly, 66 percent of younger adults between the ages of 18 and 24 chose streaming; close behind were those aged 25-34, at 62 percent. On the other hand, 77 percent of users over 55 chose traditional pay-TV. The middle group made a similar choice, with the majority of people aged 35 to 54 choosing traditional pay-TV as well.

What can we glean from this research? Michael Greeson, TDG co-founder and director of research, notes that, “While today’s TV viewer can and often does use both legacy and streaming TV services, when forced to choose between the two, loyalties rise to the top, offering penetrating insight into where different age groups place greater value.”

While these responses seem to paint a clear picture of pay-TV’s future, there are two sides to every story.

Other data gathered by MarketingCharts suggests that patterns emerge when examining previous measurements of pay-TV penetration. It seems that, despite a drop in pay-TV usage among 18-24 year-olds living with their parents, it rises again as they get older and start families. Also, the responses in the TDG chart may not be weighted to reflect the population in general, which would affect the end results.

How will this scenario play out in the long run? Odds are good that we won’t know until we’re there.