Young Americans' relative distaste for cable has long been a pain point for TV service providers. Now, that distaste might be spreading.
Internet users of all age groups are now more likely to use streaming video than cable, new research shows.
Research company eMarketer flagged a May study from Fluent LLC that asked internet users about their cable and TV habits. Across age groups, 67 percent of people reported using some sort of video streaming service, such as Hulu, Netflix (NFLX) or Amazon (AMZN) Prime video. Only 61 percent said they had a cable subscription at home.
But the difference was most stark among the 18-to-35 set, which showed a 20-point difference between those who had cable and those who used streaming video (57 percent vs. 77 percent).
Younger internet users generally reported more streaming service use, with the exception of Amazon Prime, which was used equally across age groups. Netflix, one of the first to offer paid streaming video, is the undisputed king in the arena: Nearly half of all internet users say they've used it.
Streaming services have been nipping at cable's heels for years, as the number of pay-TV subscribers drops. Some 1.5 million Americans stopped their cable subscriptions last year, according to Variety, bringing the number of households that pay for TV down to 99.4 million. (That's about 85 percent of all U.S. households.)
A not-insignificant number of those Americans maintain cable subscriptions only because of limits imposed by their internet providers. A recent report from Deloitte found that two-thirds of cable subscribers keep their TV service because it's bundled with the internet.
The Fluent figures don't exactly sound the death knell for cable -- they count just the people who enjoy an internet connection, leaving out a portion of Americans. But they highlight a trend that, barring FCC action or a major market upset, is likely to only accelerate.