Joseph O'Halloran | 19-09-2013
Despite increasing amounts of content available from over the top services, cord-cutting is continuing to fail to take off according to new research by Altman Vilandrie & Company.
Underlying the extent, or lack of it of cord-cutting, the research found that fundamentally only less than 5% of TV viewers would prefer to watch over the top online video regularly instead of subscribing to cable TV. Moreover when quizzed as to why they cancelled their pay-TV service, the majority of such users cited cost rather than the fact that the online video alternative was a satisfying substitute. Indeed those who cancelled spent less and subscribed to fewer services than average subscribers.
The survey also revealed what the analyst called the “surprising” resilience in the popularity of live viewing and that watching shows when they become available is especially important to younger viewers. Among those refusing to cut the cord, the desire to watch live news (75%), new TV shows (66%) and live sports (59%) were the main reasons given.Even given the many alternative forms of viewing on offer over the last three years, the level of TV watching during normal broadcast time was found to be roughly the same in 2013 as in 2010.
Despite the lack of cord-cutting, the analyst warned that four-fifths of consumers under 35, and nearly half of older viewers, now watch TV shows and movies online weekly. Mobile device viewing was described as “exploding”, with more than a quarter of people under 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 5–14% 2013 while a fifth of 35-44 year olds now watch TV or movies on a smartphone every week.
"This is a good news/bad news story for cable operators," said Altman Vilandrie & Company Director Jonathan Hurd, who directed the survey. "Live sports, news, and popular series are sustaining cable, and 'appointment viewing' is popular among younger viewers due to social media. But if operators can't figure out how to market TV everywhere they may lose out on younger viewers who want to watch TV shows on tablets, laptops, and smartphones."