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Gen Z are the cord-cutters of the future. Can the TV industry win them over before it’s too late?

Nielsen’s latest Total Audience Report reveals an interesting bit of data: generation Z now represents the largest potential TV audience of any age demographic. Nielsen defines the group as people born between 1997 – 2015 and says they make up 26% of people living in U.S. households with a TV. Comparatively, millennials make up 22% of that audience, gen-Xers 20%, and baby boomers 24%.

But gen Z is also more likely to live in households with three or more people (most are too young to live alone), meaning they benefit from the higher incomes and technological choices of the people they live with, Nielsen says. Contrast this with millennials, who are more likely to be renters, live in urban areas, and live in lower-income households—all conditions conducive to cord-cutting. So pay-TV companies looking to hook in the next generation, now’s your chance.

Of course, gen Z is likely to follow a similar path once they strike out on their own, and who knows what the landscape will look like by then? “One big question is whether younger people will continue their current usage behaviors as they age,” Nielsen SVP Peter Katsingris says in the report.

[Image: Nielsen]CZ