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Cord Cutting Survey: 19% of Young Adults Have Dropped Cable or Satellite TV Service

The latest Pew Research Center survey of broadband adoption rates has sobering statistics for Hollywood. Some 19% of adults in the 18 to 29 age range have become cord cutters, dropping cable or satellite TV service, while another 16% have never had a traditional subscription TV package.

Pew Research Center’s Home Broadband 2015 study found that 24% of all American adults do not subscribe to cable or satellite TV service. Of those, 15% have become cord cutters in recent years while 9% qualify as “cord nevers.” The high cost of cable and satellite TV packages was cited by 74% of the cord cutters as the reason for dropping service.

Two-thirds of all adults who do not subscribe to cable or satellite TV cited alternate sources of content — Netflix, Amazon and Hulu among them — as the reason for not having a traditional pay TV service. The 2015 report marks the first time Pew Research Center has included cord-cutting queries in its Home Broadband surveys.

The study found that the overall adoption rate of broadband service in the home has dropped slightly from 2013, to 67% of U.S. households compared to 70% two years ago. The number of “smartphone-only” homes, in which smartphones are the sole source of online access, has climbed to 13% in 2015, up from 8% in 2013.

Among the 24% of American homes without cable or satellite service, the study found that 25% are smartphone-only while 54% have broadband in the home. Among the cord cutters, 58% have broadband and 27% are smartphone-only.

The shifts in TV-watching behavior are significant for the entertainment industry because so much of the profits of major media congloms are derived from cable networks that rake in affiliate fees from cable and satellite providers. This week, Disney’s stock is feeling the pinch of cord-cutting concerns, even as “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is setting box office records around the globe.

The Home Broadband 2015 report is based on telephone surveys of 2,001 adults conducted in June and July.

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