16% of Pay TV Subscribers With Broadband to Cut Back on Cable

February 16, 2012

cmb-paytv-subscription-plans-feb-2012.jpg16% of paid TV subscribers who have high-speed internet access say they are highly likely to cut back on cable in the next year, and a further 27% are of mixed opinion, according to [download page] a survey released in February 2012 by Chadwick Martin Bailey (CMB). Of those planning to cut back on elements of their subscription, the leading action is to switch from an HD box to a regular one (34%). 18% say they will reduce non-premium channels, 14% will cut the number of boxes in the house, and 12% will reduce premium channels.

Additionally, 1 in 5 “high value” pay TV customers (those who have an HD box, DVR, and premium channels) say they are likely to cut back on cable service in the next year. According to a February 2012 report from Nielsen, the vast majority (90.4%) of US TV households paid for a TV subscription (cable, telco, or satellite) in Q3 2011, while roughly three-quarters opted for broadband internet. The proportion paying for both a TV subscription and broadband increased 5.5% year-over-year. By contrast, the number of homes subscribing to cable TV without broadband fell 17.1% over the year.

Meanwhile, although the CMB survey indicates that some consumers may be cutting back on their service, they will not be eliminating them entirely: indeed, true cord-cutters are rare: just 3% of the respondents fit this profile. Results from a Deloitte survey released in January 2012 found cord-cutting to be more prevalent: according to that survey, 9% of Americans have cut their pay TV connection because they can watch all their favorite shows online, while a further 11% are considering doing so.

More Than Half Watch Online

54% of the CMB respondents indicated they had watched TV shows or movies online in the week prior to the survey. 16-29-year-olds (74%) were the most likely to have done so, almost twice as likely as 50-75-year-olds (39%). Those aged 30-49 watched online at about the average rate (55%).

Network Sites Most Popular

Data from CMB’s “The New Age of Television” indicates that a network website (27%) is the most popular source for non-traditional viewing. Other sources respondents used to watch TV or movies online included Netflix online (24%), other online services such as Hulu (18%), and a pay TV provider’s website, such as Xfinity or Fios (12%).

Other Findings:

  • 58% of tablet viewers watched TV or movies on their device while they were at home. Among people who watch on tablets, 63% have used a tablet even when they could have watched the same show on a TV set.
  • Streaming content is twice as appealing as downloading or owning content.
  • Given the choice, consumers would choose a service with the deepest catalog over one that focuses on new content.

About the Data: The CMB results are based on an online survey of 1494 US consumers aged between 16 and 75 in December 2011. 39% of respondents were aged 50-69, and 39% were aged 30-49. Respondents were required to have high speed internet access at home and to watch at least 2 hours of TV programming per week.

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