Newly released CivicScience data show that 68% of Americans surveyed still pay for some sort of live television programming in one way or another. 

But why, you ask?

News. Thirty percent of Americans who pay for live television say a main reason they do so is for local and / or cable news. Watching other programming as it airs and live sporting events are neck and neck for runner up, 23% and 22% of respondents answering these respectively.

The gap between the remaining three reasons is large. Having poor Internet connection, not being able to get out of a contract, and tuning in for competition shows all sit right around 5%.

While it’s not too surprising that older people are more likely to pay for live TV of some kind, that’s not the entire story. Sixty-two percent of 18- to 24-year-olds polled pay for live TV access of some kind. The 25- to 34-year-olds are the least likely to do so.

This overall age data is generally mimicked when compared to the top three reasons (news, watching shows as they air, live sports). Two things did stand out, though:

  • Anyone 35 and older is more likely to pay for live TV for live sports than their counterparts
  • Adults under 25 and those 35 and up are also more likely to pay for TV for news; 25- to 34-year-olds are much less likely to do so

Back to the idea of paying for live TV for the news once more, comparing it to politics (it’s an election year, after all). To the surprise of exactly no one, political Conservatives and Moderates are a bit more likely to pay for live TV for access to news than their Liberal counterparts. However, on the flip side, it’s still somewhat strong across all political persuasions.

Ending on the overarching related topic of cord-cutting, it should be noted that CivicScience is observing an increase in people canceling their cable / satellite subscriptions and moving to streaming-only services since the pandemic started to pick up.