30% of US pay homes risk cord cutting

Total US pay TV subscribers remained flat, growing by only some 148,000 during 2010, a 0.15 per cent annual growth rate, indicating no current trend toward video cord cutting/shaving, according to In-Stat.

“A substantial portion of pay TV subscribers, however, exhibit similar characteristics to video cord cutting households,” says Keith Nissen, Principal Analyst. “It is important to track these ‘at risk’ subscribers, rather than the payTV subscriber base as a whole. In general, our new data confirms that adoption of online video is growing. But, except for Netflix, the frequency of use is not expanding. This is largely because consumers are going to online portals to view specific TV and movie content. The frequency of viewing online video will probably not increase until ‘must-see’ original online programming takes hold.”

In-Stat research found the following:
- Cable operators lost 2.5 million subscribers, but satellite and telco operators made up the difference.
- Neither age nor household income appear to impact pay TV video cord cutting.
- More households added premium channels during 2010 than dropped premium channels.
- Cable sports is valued significantly less than on-demand access to TV content or premium TV channels; more sports will not protect against cord cutting.