• Research: Cord-Cutters Mostly Satisfied Without Pay-TV Service

    New research from nScreenMedia (my weekly podcast partner Colin Dixon's firm), has found that among pay-TV cord-cutters, 37% said they were "extremely happy and will never go back to pay-TV," with another 47% saying they're "pretty happy with the decision." Conversely, 8% said they were "pretty unhappy with the decision" and 9% "hate it and wish they had the service again."

    The overwhelming lack of remorse suggests cord-cutters have been able to cobble together mostly adequate OTT substitutes to pay-TV.


    The survey revealed that 74% of broadband homes still subscribe to pay-TV, with 10% saying they have never subscribed to pay-TV ("cord-nevers"), and 17% having cancelled their service (8% more than 2 years ago, 4% in past 1-2 years, and 5% in the past year).

    31% of cord-cutters said they missed most the TV shows that can't be found elsewhere, followed by 12% who said watching first-run TV episodes. Just 9% said they missed sports channels and 29% said they missed absolutely nothing. The low number missing sports suggests that most cord-cutters are not sports fans.

    No surprise, millennials' pay-TV subscription rate, at 63%, was the lowest among all age groups, with 19% of the group reported as cord-nevers. Versus other age groups, millennials also watched 24% more subscription OTT video, 20% more free online video and 14% more digital movies and TV shows. Their favorite device was the smartphone, used 15% more than the average of all age groups.

    Among online video sources, YouTube was by far the most used, cited by 92% of respondents, followed by Netflix (52%), Hulu/Hulu Plus (35%) and Amazon (26%). For time spent viewing, YouTube led again, with a 48%  share of online video viewing, followed by Netflix (22%), Hulu/Hulu Plus (8%) and Amazon (6%).

    While the report sheds new light on cord-cutters, the overall size of the group remains relatively small, and the pay-TV industry is working hard to keep it this way, with a range of initiatives like TV Everywhere, enhanced VOD, improved search/discovery, lower-priced bundles, etc. meant to add more value. The fact that the industry lost just about 105K subscribers in 2013 (on a base of nearly 95 million subscribers) suggests that cord-cutting has not taken off in a big way, at least yet.

    The research is based on a survey of 1,000 broadband users, weighted to reflect gender and age in the U.S. population of consumers with broadband at home, and was conducted by Troubador Research & Consulting.

    The report is available as a complimentary download.

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