Experian Marketing Services says in a new report that nearly one in five (18%) of households with Netflix or Hulu, and high-speed broadband service, didn't pay for cable television last year. That proportion is up markedly from 2010, when 13% of broadband households with Neflix or Hulu didn't pay for television service. Overall, 6.5% of U.S. households with broadband service no longer pay for cable television service, up from 4.5% in 2010, according to Experian.
People who watch streaming video on television sets are especially likely to be cord-cutters, according to Experian. “It’s the ability to stream or download video directly to the television -- the modern caveman’s campfire -- that seems to be the tipping point,” the report's authors write. “So as devices like Roku, Apple TV and Google Chromecast become more common and as televisions themselves are increasingly connected to the Internet directly, we should expect to see the number of cord-cutters grow.”
Of course, cable companies themselves could put a big crimp in cord-cutting with pay-per-byte billing models. Already, some broadband providers are moving in this direction. Comcast, the largest cable company, currently is rolling out data caps of 300 GB per month, with each additional 50GB costing an extra $10.
Those data caps might sound high, but people who want to replace cable video with streaming offerings in HD would need at least 684 GB of data per month, according to the advocacy group Public Knowledge. The organization has been trying to convince the Federal Communications Commission to investigate whether cable companies are using data caps to hinder online competitors.