The number of “cord nevers” – adults who have never paid for a traditional TV connection – is growing, according to Cord Never research from MRI-Simmons research.

The firm said that about 31 million U.S. consumers, 12% of the adult population are Cord Nevers (CNs). That’s an increase from 9% in 2017. The CNs’ median age is 33 and their median income has risen from $41,500 to $52,800 during the past two years.

“Young people used to say that, as soon as they got their first well-paying job, they would sign up for the full suite of traditional TV services,” Karen Ramspacher, MRI-Simmons’ Senior Vice President of Innovations & Insights, said in a press release.  Today, there are many more options for connecting to what Ramspacher called “TVideo” content, the press release notes. That means that “[c]ompetition for these subscription dollars is fierce. As they grow in numbers and wealth, today’s Cord Nevers definitely represent an opportunity for content providers – but understanding the Nevers’ underlying motivations is essential to targeting them effectively,” Ramspacher said.

The market could be shifting. About 27% of CNs are planning to sign up for a pay TV service during the next six months, researchers found. Seventy percent of these are seeking a traditional pay TV offering. But 30%, including  41% of those who are 18 to 34 years old, expect to go with a streaming vendor.

Researchers found that the reasons such a high percentage are seeking a pay TV service vary dramatically. There are nine main reasons: The desire to channel surf; the thought that good deals are available; more ease in finding and watching shows; the need for a service to watch the desired networks; better access to desired shows; the thought that it is worth the cost; the desire to watch live news; the desire to watch live programming and the desire for a DVR service.

Meanwhile, cord cutting continues. Kagan, a research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence, said in March that in the fourth quarter of 2018, multichannel video providers lost 1.1 million subscribers. That brought losses for the year to almost 4 million.

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