Cord-Cutting Low, but Cable Still Missing Out

Sept. 18, 2013
According to a survey released by Altman Vilandrie & Co., the number of consumers "cutting the cord" from cable TV for Internet video remains low, and live programming is still a huge viewer draw. However, cable's initiatives to bring content to mobile devic...
According to a survey released by Altman Vilandrie & Co., the number of consumers "cutting the cord" from cable TV for Internet video remains low, and live programming is still a huge viewer draw. However, cable's initiatives to bring content to mobile devices, dubbed "TV Everywhere," have low awareness among consumers, and cable risks losing the mobile viewing battle to Netflix and other online providers.Less than 5% of consumers watch online video regularly instead of subscribing to cable TV, a negligible increase over 2012. Most non-subscribers canceled primarily because of the cost of cable, not because online video was a complete substitute. Those who have canceled spent less and subscribed to fewer services than average subscribers. The survey, conducted since 2009 with Research Now, also indicated surprising resilience in the popularity of live viewing and that watching shows when they become available is especially important to younger viewers.Some dark clouds remain on the horizon for cable providers: 80% of consumers younger than 35 (and nearly half of older viewers) now watch TV shows and movies online weekly. Mobile device viewing is exploding, with more than a quarter of people younger than 45 watching TV shows and movies on a tablet weekly. The percentage of those watching TV and movies weekly on a smartphone has nearly tripled since 2011, from 5% to 14% in 2013. One in five 35-44 year-olds now watch TV or movies on a smartphone every week.While the survey indicated that most viewers want to keep a relationship with cable, more are paring back on the amount they pay in cable bills every month. So called "cord-shaving" has doubled since 2010, with 26% now reporting they have cut back on cable services like VOD. In addition, more than 40% of subscribers younger than 35 said they have "seriously considered" dropping cable TV service.

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