What Motivates Today’s TV Consumer?


Video consumption has never been more fragmented.

As pay TV subscriptions continue to decline, they are replaced by a number of live and on-demand streaming options that continue to grow by the day. Viewers can use a dizzying array of services to create their own consumption nirvana. However, there is bound to be an upper limit on both how many different services a consumer is willing to pay for, and how much time one has in the day to consume.

This leads some in the industry to believe the growth in content and platforms may not be sustainable over the long term.

Cutting through this cluttered landscape to create a relevant position with consumers requires an understanding of which consumer segments your growth goals depend on and their underlying motivations, preferences and behaviors. Only with this view can industry players make strategic decisions that will ensure competitive advantage and deeper viewer relationships, while remaining relevant and with enough scale to survive an inevitable culling in the over-the-top (OTT) video space.

What motivational dimensions drive video consumption behavior? What are the current gaps in consumers’ technological needs? How will the nature of storytelling evolve, and
how can you stay ahead on content?

To best answer these questions, PwC in October 2018 surveyed a sample of 2,016 people in the U.S. aged 18-59 with annual household incomes above $40,000. It analyzed these results against similar studies PwC administered in past years, and ran cluster analysis
on 68 attitudinal and motivational statements. Additionally, it conducted consumer and industry insider focus groups.

What were the key findings?

“In 2018, we saw a continuation of the cord-cutting revolution: Total pay-TV subscriptions declined from 73% to 67%, while Netflix usage (76%) surpassed cable and satellite usage (67%) for the first time,” PwC notes.

As content options and platforms continue to grow, and consumers have more control over their choices, the pay-TV-consumer relationship appears healthier:

■ 19% of consumers say they’re “in a committed partnership” with their pay-TV service provider, up from 17% last year.
■ Fewer people feel “trapped” in the relationship (20%, down from 22% last year).


While millennials are largely considered the top group among “cord cutters,” PwC finds that older consumers are increasingly saying goodbye to an MVPD and are accessing more video content online. Concurrently, younger consumers are showing signs of positive pay-TV relationships:

■ 28% of older consumers (50+) have cut the cord, up from 19% in 2017.
■ 61% of consumers 50 and above now access TV content from the internet, compared to 48% just two years ago.
■ Younger audiences are more likely to report a healthy relationship with their pay-TV provider (22% of consumers ages 25-34 report being “in a committed partnership” vs.
16% of those 50 and above.)

The report also looks at five distinct cohorts of consumers, and looks at what drives their behavior.

To download the report in full, please click HERE.