Pay TV Subscribers Canceling Service, Going Online

January 6, 2012

deloitte-plans-of-pay-tv-subscribers-by-age-jan12.gif9% 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, according to a Deloitte survey released in January 2012. An additional 15% say they will most likely watch movies, TV programs, and videos from online digital sources (via download or streamed over the Internet) in the near future. The proportion considering “cutting the cord” is highest among leading millennials, defined as respondents aged 23-28, at 19%. Meanwhile, 11% of Boomers report having already canceled their paid TV service, highest among the age groups.

However, the survey also shows that Americans value cable TV and satellite TV above most other services. According to December 2011 figures from Motorola, Americans are spending 21 hours per week in front of the TV. And although only 44% of the Deloitte survey respondents report having DVR functionality, using a DVR is the second-most preferred means of watching a favorite TV show.

Streaming Becoming Widespread

42% of respondents reported having streamed a movie in 2011, representing a 50% increase from 28% in 2009. The proportion citing streaming delivery of a movie to their computer or TV as their favorite way of watching a movie more than tripled, jumping to 14% from 4% in 2009. Whereas in 2007, 37% of people reported not having viewed a movie, available for purchase or rental, in the past 6 months, that percentage dropped to 19% in 2011.

Print Content Increasingly Preferred Digitally

Data from the “State of Media Democracy, 6th Edition” indicates that 36% of the 2011 respondents preferred being able to download their books, magazines, and newspapers to a digital device, up from 23% in 2007. 20% of leading millennials reported having read their favorite newspaper on a smartphone in the last 6 months, up from 9% the previous year, while the proportion of the segment stating that to be their favorite method for reading the newspaper shot up from 3% to 11%.

Smartphone Adoption, Activities Grow

The proportion of households owning a smartphone grew to 42% in 2011, compared to 25% two years earlier, while the proportion of consumers interested in purchasing a smartphone in the near future rose 30% year-over-year, from 40% in 2010 to 52% in 2011.

Alongside this growing adoption, Americans appear to be increasingly using their devices in a variety of ways. Text messaging, the most popular activity, rose to 78% of respondents from 71% in 2009, while 46% reported using online search, compared to 30% in 2009. 37% used their device for GPS, while about 1 in 5 used it for online banking.

According to December 2011 figures from comScore, during the three-month average ending November 2011, downloading of applications (44.9%) overtook browser use (44.4%) in popularity among US mobile subscribers, although texting (72.6%) remained the the most common activity.

About the Data: Deloitte’s study was conducted by Harrison Group. The online survey polled more than 2,000 consumers between the ages of 14 and 75 in the US.

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