The video consumption landscape is changing fast, with cable companies losing consumers and streaming services such as Netflix commanding an ever-growing share of the market. To better understand streaming video adoption trends, we interviewed 2,267 US consumers, focusing especially on the differences between millennial audiences and their older counterparts.

Despite the fact that a large share of Americans (61%) still have cable in their households, there has been a steady decline in subscriptions over the past several years. Cord cutting has reached record pace. Over the last five years, nearly 8 million U.S. households have abandoned traditional pay TV or eschewed signing up entirely, according to Wall Street research firm, MoffettNathanson.1 We found that at this point, 8% of current cable subscribers are planning to cut the cord in the next year.2 This trend is further exacerbated by the fact that millennials are subscribing to cable at lower rates, compared to previous generations. Currently, only 57% of millennials say they have cable in their households and of those who do not, more than a third (34%) said they never had it. In comparison, 25% of non-millennial consumers who do not have cable never had it whereas 75% cut the cord.

However, even though younger audiences are showing a strong preference towards streaming services, few want to pay for a subscription themselves. Currently, 60% of millennials who stream video share passwords for at least some of these services. On the upside, younger consumers are more accepting of advertising within streaming apps, even if they already paid for a subscription.

Detailed findings include:

  • It is not just cord cutting that will be the demise of Cable companies – but millennial reluctance to subscribe.
    • Millennials are subscribing to cable at lower rates, compared to previous generations.
  • This hesitation is driven by millennials’ preference for cheap, multi-device streaming options that allow them to binge watch shows.
    • Currently, only 57% of Millennials say they have cable in their households and of those who do not have cable, more than a third (34%) said they never had cable.
    • In comparison – 77% of Millennials have access to/watch a streaming service and 61% have/watch Netflix.
    • Cable companies will need to evolve and figure out a way to cater to this audience if they want to retain or re-capture entertainment market share.
  • Americans don’t want to pay for streaming video; instead they take advantage of the ability to share passwords with friends and family. This is especially true for Millennials; 60% of younger viewers share streaming service passwords.
  • Millennials are streaming services power users. While they are very cost conscious and try to get out of paying for the subscriptions, they are more willing to watch with the ads, signaling an opportunity for OTT brands.
    • 77% of millennials have access to/watch streaming services
    • Millennials are more likely to stream video across multiple devices, such as TV, smartphone and computer
    • Only 40% of millennials pay for all their streaming services
    • More likely to watch original content (79% vs 68%)
    • Have a stronger preference for binge watching shows, rather than (64% vs 59%)
    • More likely to be accepting of advertising on a streaming service that already charges a subscription (38% vs. 31%).
  • Sports streaming is a desired product, to which nearly a quarter (23%) of Americans say they would subscribe.
  • While Football is king, other specific sports consumers would pay to stream differ by age:
    • Millennials are more keen on watching Basketball and Soccer than older generations.


  1. Source: WSJ.
  2. Source: Marketing to the Heartland 2017 : Part 2: Media Consumption Trends 



Fluent’s Streaming Services survey was conducted online within the United States by Fluent, LLC on May 9, 2017 among 2,267 US consumers (aged 18 and up). Due to rounding, percentages may not always add up to 100%. Fluent’s proprietary ad serving technology includes a real-time survey module that was used to facilitate the data collection for this study. Respondents were randomly selected and data was weighted to US Census 2010 population distribution.