23 Oct 2017
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One-fourth of all American adults do not have cable TV: Survey

MUMBAI: For cable TV companies, direct-to-home (DTH) operators and television broadcasters, the figures can be shocking. Almost one-fourth of American adults are living without a cable or satellite TV service.

Worse, 15 per cent of all American adults have cut the cord and this is a growing trend. This means that a large number of adults who are already in the cable TV system are migrating to other platforms like over-the-top (OTT) to consume content.

Young adults in America are increasingly viewing content on mobile devices, according to a Pew Research Center survey.

The survey findings also show that 24 per cent of all American adults do not subscribe to a cable or satellite TV service. While 15 per cent of these are cord cutters, 9 per cent qualify as “cord nevers”.

So what is the reason for this? About 74 per cent of the cord cutters said that the high cost of cable and satellite TV packages was encouraging them to drop out of such service.

People with higher income still access content through cable or satellite TV. Around 63 per cent of people with household income of less than $20,000 per year still subscribe. In those homes where the income is $75,000 or more, 86 per cent are not yet willing to completely cut the cord.

For those who do not have cable or satellite TV service, the most obvious destination is OTT platforms. Two-thirds of all adults who are out of the traditional delivery system are consuming content from online sources like Netflix and Amazon Prime, who are investing in original shows, free of commercials and interruptions.

There is thus a direct relation between the rise in cord cutting and the “advanced Internet access” through smartphones and home broadband subscriptions. There is also a dramatic rise in the number of apps or dedicated devices that provide the content.

Out of the 24 per cent of American homes without cable or satellite TV service, Pew’s survey found that 25 per cent are smartphone-only while 54 per cent have broadband at home. Among the cord-cutting population, 58 per cent have broadband and 27 per cent are smartphone-only.

Incidentally, this is Pew Research Center’s first report that has included cord-cutting queries in its Home Broadband surveys. Pew did a national telephone survey of 2001 American adults aged 18 and over.