Broadcast TV-Only Broadband Homes Rising Fast

February 13, 2012

nielsen-distribution-viewing-mediums-feb-2012.jpgThough constituting just 4.5% of all TV households in the US, the number of US households foregoing cable or satellite TV in favor of a pairing of broadcast TV-only plus broadband internet connection rose 22.8% in Q3 2011 when compared to a year earlier, according to [download page] a February 2012 report from Nielsen. And although these homes spend the majority of their video time watching traditional TV, at an average of 122.6 minutes daily, this is less than half the average for all cross-platform homes (256.5 minutes daily). They also consume more than double the amount of streaming video (11.2 vs. 5 minutes per day).

The report notes that these consumers are not necessarily cord-cutters, but may be former broadcast-only homes that upgraded to internet service.

According to a Deloitte survey released in January 2012, 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.

Wired Cable Subscribers Fall

Data from Nielsen’s “Cross-Platform Report, Q3 2011” indicates that the number of homes subscribing to wired cable fell 4.1% year-over-year in Q3 2011, at the same time that telephone company-provided (telco) and satellite TV saw increases of 21.1% and 2.1%, respectively.

Overall, the vast majority (90.4%) of US TV households paid for a TV subscription (cable, telco, or satellite), while roughly three-quarters opted for broadband internet. In fact, 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.

Asians Opt Out of Cable

Wired cable was still the top subscription choice in Q3 2011 for white (54%), African-American (55%), Hispanic (45%), and Asian (51%) households, but represented a smaller share of paid-TV subscriptions than it did in Q1. The biggest shift between subscription types was found among Asians: while nearly two-thirds of Asians subscribed to wired cable in Q1 2011, that proportion decreased to 51% in Q3. By contrast, 12% of Asians opted for telco delivery, up 33% from 9% in Q3 2010.

Hispanic households were more likely to be broadcast-only (15%) or pay for satellite (34%) than any other ethnicity.

TV and Streaming Still Negatively Correlated

Continuing a trend first reported in Q1 2011, the heaviest at-home streamers consumed the least TV, while the lightest TV users were the heaviest streamers in Q3. Streaming remained a highly concentrated behavior, with nearly 84% of all streaming taking place among the top quintile of consumers who stream. This segment watched an average of 223 daily minutes of TV in Q3, compared to almost 248 daily minutes for the quintile that did not stream at all.

When sorting by TV viewing behavior, the consumer quintile that watched the most TV, at over 10 hours daily, also spent the least amount streaming, at just 2.4 minutes per day. However, this top quintile of TV watchers also spent the largest amount of time on the internet, at almost 26 minutes daily. In fact, this internet use ranked above the segment of households that did not watch TV (19.3 minutes).

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