Cord-Cutters, Meet the Cord-Nevers

We know who cord-cutters are, but who are the “cord-nevers”? We’ll tell you.

Cord-nevers are an emerging demographic of people avoiding cable TV. We’ve talked about them since the term was coined back in 2013. So, who or what is a cord-never? They’re folks who’ve never had a cable to cut. Statistics suggest that while today’s numbers of cord-nevers are small, the population is likely to grow. Current cord-nevers are in two separate and distinct age groups. Let’s take a closer look at these people who’ve never trifled with the troubles of cable TV.

Millennial Cord-Nevers

These youngsters are at one end of the spectrum. This group grew up in the age of the Internet and expect their entertainment needs to be met digitally. This group might look at cable the same way that Generation X looked at TV antennas – as old technology to be replaced. Millennial cord-nevers prefer streaming. Chances are, it started in their childhood homes, where many opted to watch their favorite shows on tablets and phones.

Today, about four out of 10 homes with an 18- to 34-year-old resident rely upon broadcast-only or Internet-only alternatives. This is according to GfK’s 2016 Ownership and Trend Report from The Home Technology Monitor™. The recent study by the GfK suggests that cord-nevers could be a growing trend among today’s 18-34 age group. It also states that:

  • TV households with a resident between 18-34 are more likely to choose alternatives to cable and satellite;
  • 22 percent of these homes use broadcast-only reception, compared to 17 percent of all US households;
  • 13 percent only watch an Internet service on TV sets, compared to six percent of all TV homes;
  • And 38 percent of households headed by someone aged 18-to-34 households rely upon some type of alternative TV reception or video source, compared to 25 percent of all homes.

Note: GfK’s report surveyed 3,009 U.S. households, including non-TV, non-Internet, and cell-phone-only homes. This isn’t the first study to talk about Millennial cord-nevers, though. There was the study we commented on back in 2015. It stated that up to half of Millennials will never use a traditional pay service.

Older Cord-Nevers

There’s another group of cord-nevers at the opposite end of the age spectrum. This is the group of people over the age of 50 who were used to getting TV over the air. The 50+ cord-nevers is probably a smaller group than Millennial cord-nevers. There’s a good chance the older folks have had cable and/or satellite TV services during some point in their lives.

A Matter of Economy

Cord-cutting became more interesting with the addition of the cord-never crowd. Chances are good that the Millennial portion of this demographic will continue to seek out new and innovative streaming opportunities. Many might not be aware of cord-cutting with a TV antenna. This means that Millennials could be an untapped market. Coming of age at a time where wages are static amid growing living costs makes free local TV attractive to these youngsters.

About the Author

Jake Buckler
Jake Buckler is a cord-cutter, consumer electronics geek, and Celtic folk music fan. Those qualities, and his writing experience, helped him land a copywriting gig at Signal Group, LLC. He also contributes to The Solid Signal Blog.