Number of Broadband Households Foregoing Legacy Pay-TV Continues to Rise

March 23, 2017

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Pay-TV & Cord-Cutting | Television

The share of US broadband households that don’t subscribe to legacy pay-TV continues its steady climb, reports TDG Research in a new study. Some 22% of broadband households surveyed in 2016 could be classified as “Cord Nils” in that they don’t use any TV services from legacy providers. That’s double the figure from 2012 – a marked rise in a short time.

Interestingly, the proportion of broadband households without any pay-TV service has accelerated in recent years, jumping from 14% in 2014 to 22% last year. These households consist of “cord-nevers” (those who have never subscribed) and “cord-cutters” (those who stopped subscribing).

Recent research suggests that 82% of US households subscribe to a pay-TV service. While that figure is higher than TDG’s results (78%), the TDG research was limited to broadband households, which presumably are more likely to forego pay-TV and use streaming services instead.

Research released last year by GfK, meanwhile, indicates that 1 in 4 US households forego pay-TV. In examining differences between cord-nevers and cord-cutters, the report showed that cord-cutters over-index the total population in subscribership to subscription video-on-demand services, active viewership of OTT on a TV set, and having kids in the household. By contrast, cord-nevers under-indexed the general population in each of those cases.

The GfK study also found that cord-cutters and cord-nevers have lower incomes than the general population, an interesting point in light of recent research from TiVo indicating that price is the main complaint cited by dissatisfied pay-TV customers – and that low cost is one of subscription video-on-demand services’ primary benefits.

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