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Millennials Have Commitment Issues With Streaming TV

Winter is Coming for HBO; Half of Millennials Use Someone Else's Account

Now that Game of Thrones has ended, many fans are cancelling their HBO subscriptions.

Consumers have more media choices than ever. Analysis by InMyArea Research shows that millennials are doing more than simply cutting the cord.  Consumers aged 22 to 38 are frequent switchers that are loyal to shows over products and frequently “borrow” accounts from friends and family.  

While Daenarys is the breaker of chains, millennials are the breakers of contracts.  We surveyed more than 1,000 millennials, and found the following for those that watched HBO anytime over the last three months:

  • Just 62% of GoT watchers owned their own HBO subscription.
  • One in three HBO subscribers have cancelled, or are planning on cancelling HBO.
  • 56% of millennials use someone else’s streaming account, most often for Netflix.
  • 40% of those surveyed pay for cable or satellite TV, those that don’t typically cite overall cost as the reason.

Winter is Coming for HBO

In the wake of the GoT series finale, everyone is wondering if the show’s diehard fans will cancel their HBO subscriptions. GoT has long been one of HBO’s biggest hits, pulling in more than 10 million views every Sunday in its last two seasons. According to the premium network, the season eight premiere of GoT had 17.4 million views, and it was the most streamed episode of a show in the history of HBO. While the network has other viral shows like Big Little Lies, Westworld and Chernobyl, the surprise hit of the season, none of them come close to taking the Iron Throne. GoT has three times more viewers than Westworld, the second most watched show on HBO.

The millennial generation makes up a large portion of the show's viewers, which is easily seen in countless viral GoT memes and social media posts made by the generation. If a third of millennial GoT viewers cancel HBO after saying goodbye to Westeros, the network could lose a core audience segment and significant subscription revenue.

Some GoT fans aren’t canceling their HBO subscriptions, because they don’t have one. One in four millennials use a friend’s or family member’s HBO account to watch the network, so they can come and go as they please without paying a monthly bill. Talk about commitment issues.

Millennials Mooch Streaming TV

Millennials have gone even further than just cutting the cord on cable TV. They’re also finding ways to avoid paying for monthly streaming services. More than half of all millennials use someone else’s account for one or more streaming services. Out of all the most popular streaming services, Netflix is the one that millennials mooch the most. While one in four millennials use someone else’s HBO account, more than one in three use someone else’s Netflix account.

When it comes to paying for their own subscriptions, Netflix is the streaming service that most millennials are willing to pay for. HBO subscribers are the most likely to pay for multiple streaming services, with 93% also paying for one or more other streaming subscriptions.

40% of Millennials Pay for Cable or Satellite TV

The fight among streaming services to gain subscribers is about as cutthroat as the Battle of King’s Landing (too soon?).  InMyArea found that 40% of millennials pay for a cable or satellite TV subscription. The number one reason that millennials don’t have cable TV is that it’s too expensive. Their preference for streaming services is another one of the major reasons.

Technology changes every day and with it, so does the mind of consumers.

InMyArea Research is composed of industry analysts and data scientists. We conduct studies on internet usage, TV and streaming services viewership and how consumers make decisions when it comes to their home services. We also study internet connectivity, the digital divide and how it impacts students, low-income consumers, rural consumers and veterans.