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Who’s really cutting the cord? The answer in 7 charts

October 26, 2015 | By Michelle Manafy, Editorial Director – DCN @michellemanafy
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The pay-TV industry contracted in the third quarter at a faster pace than a year earlier, signaling that “cord cutting” may well be on the rise, as more consumers drop cable and satellite-TV connections. According to MoffettNathanson, LLC, the pay-TV industry lost about 179,000 TV customers, a steeper loss from the decline of 83,000 in the year-earlier quarter. Already, more homes and businesses have dropped pay-TV service in the first three quarters of this year than in the whole of last year, according to MoffettNathanson estimates.


Experian Marketing Services estimates that there are 13.8 million adults—or 5.6 million households—that are prime to be among the next wave of cord-cutters, which means the cord-cutter population has the potential to almost double.

Looking more closely at these individuals, many already have one foot out the door when it comes to losing their cable subscription as they are 74% more likely than average to say they watch less traditional TV. Experian predicts that cable will be even less popular among Millennials than it already is, as half of these potential cord-cutters hail from this generation.

2Likely cord cutters Experian

Parks Associates consumer research finds the majority (58%) of broadband households in the U.S. use at least one OTT video service on a monthly basis, while more than a quarter of households use two or more services.


Blacks are at the leading edge of new viewing technologies, according to Horowitz Research FOCUS African America report, with 36% of Black viewers saying new technologies are enabling them to watch more TV than previously. The research also finds that Black viewers report spending 23% of their TV viewing time streaming content.  In contrast, White viewers report spending 18% of their TV time streaming. Black multichannel subscribers are twice as likely as Whites to report being likely to cancel their TV service in the next six months (20% vs. 10%).  Findings suggest that a greater reliance on new video technologies, rather than a lack of interest in TV, may be a contributing factor.


Horowitz Research’s FOCUS Latino report finds that Hispanics are very likely to have made streaming an integral part of their video viewing lifestyle. Half (51%) of Hispanic TV viewers in the study report spending 20% or more of their time watching over-the-top (OTT) content, compared to 43% of total urban TV content viewers. Among Hispanics, OTT viewing is being driven by bilingual and English-oriented Hispanics. More than half of bilingual (54%) and English-oriented (56%) Hispanics report spending more than 20% of their viewing time streaming, compared to 35% of Spanish-dominant Hispanics.


Not surprising, video consumption preferences vary by generation. Younger generations “go to services” include streaming video on demand and YouTube, where older generations do rely on YouTube, but favor Linear TV or VOD. according to an Ericsson presentation.


Not surprisingly, age is a factor: The more young-adults in the household, the higher percentage of cord cutting, according to Experian research.


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