OTT Moves Beyond ‘Early Adopter’ Phase as 45-60 Set Becomes New Battleground

NEW YORKOver-the-top distribution of video has exited the early adopter phase with consumers age 45-60 emerging as a competitive market for products and services.

That’s the conclusion of the latest national quarterly survey of cable customers conducted by equity research company Cowen. According to the company, OTT adoption by consumers 18-29 has largely stabilized and is beginning to mature.

But adoption rates for the 45-60 age cohort have reached 32%, up 27% since last quarter and 21% from last year. “This middle-aged cohort (and eventually senior cohort) is becoming the primary source of growth in the maturing product cycle,” Cowen said.

While OTT adoption's steep growth arc is finally flattening, Cowen also suggested, cord-cutting is stabilizing. Around 21% of respondents in the latest survey identified themselves as a cord-cutter, which is roughly flat with recent surveys.

Price is still the No. 1 determinate of OTT migration, Cowen said. And as such, recent price hikes by OTT companies including Netflix, Sling TV, DirecTV Now and YouTube TV “could make the switch to OTT-only solutions less compelling.”

Also, the percentage of cable subscribers who said they recently lowered their pay TV service offering decreased to below 20% after exceeding 25% in the fourth quarter.

The Cowen survey mostly includes Comcast and Charter customers. But Altice USA and Cox Communications customers also factor in.