Older Americans are shifting away from traditional TV and toward streaming
Consumers over 55 who use OTT services are more selective in their streaming viewership than younger viewers
Will Baby Boomers be the next wave of binge-watchers? Following the path of younger consumers, older Americans are increasingly abandoning traditional paid TV services for streaming subscriptions. From 2022 to 2023, there was a 60% increase in US consumers over the age of 55 who subscribe to livestreaming, multichannel video programming distributors like YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV. And those who subscribe to over-the-top (OTT) services grew by 11%. At the same time, the share of those who pay for linear TV services via cable or satellite declined 14%.
Unlike their millennial and Gen Z cohorts, older viewers tend to be more discerning in their streaming. Of consumers over the age of 55 who use OTT services, around 15% use just one OTT provider, compared with 6% of consumers under 55. And while 76% of younger Americans have access to four or more providers, only 57% of older consumers do. Subscribers over the age of 55 are also more loyal: 66% say they aren’t likely to switch providers, compared with 55% of younger subscribers.
As older consumers subscribe more selectively, some OTT providers have struggled to capture the demographic. Yet others, like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, remain the most accessed services across age ranges.
Leading providers will strategically capitalize on older consumers’ growing interest in streaming services. To win over this loyal and selective demographic, they’ll be attuned to the ways that their behaviors, preferences, and needs differ from other consumers.