Pay TV Subscribers Churn, While Cord-Cutting Rises

Pay TV subscribers have made some bigger changes recently -- including cord-cutting -- apparently with more alterations to come.


When asked in a TiVo survey “Have you switched cable/satellite providers “in the last months?” some 9.1% said they had. This comes from research of 3,140 people 18 years and older in the third quarter of this year.

TiVo says this is up slightly quarter-to-quarter and year-over-year, and it says this “marks the highest result since this question was added to its survey since 2013.”

TiVo also asked respondents who did not have a pay TV provider: “Did you cut cable/satellite service in the last 12 months?” Results were that 17.9% said they had; 47.8% said they hadn’t; and 34.3% said they never had cable/satellite service.

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When asked about what those pay TV subscribers will do in the next six months, 5.6% said they would cut their pay TV service; 7.1% would switch to another pay-TV provider; and 2.5% would switch to an online service or app.

Almost 30% -- 29.7% -- said they are “on the fence” about making a change.

What would keep them from making these changes? TiVo said 65% would remain with their current pay TV service if they could choose and pay for the channels they watch.

The survey also said 43.5% would stay if their pay TV service could combine all TV providers -- including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video -- into one play to easily find programming.

3 comments about "Pay TV Subscribers Churn, While Cord-Cutting Rises ".
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  1. Claudio Marcus from Visible World, November 18, 2016 at 10:02 a.m.

    Yet another headline that promotes attention rather than understanding. The article states that 9.1% of those surveyed said they had switched cable/satellite providers in the last [six] months (assume 6 but not defined in the article). That means that more than 90% did not switch. The article also highlights that 5.6% responded that they plan to cut their Pay-TV service in the next 6 months. We'll that again means that more than 94% are not planning to cut their Pay-TV service. That looks more like business as usual, than the radical change the headline suggests.

  2. Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct, November 18, 2016 at 5:29 p.m.

    Wayne - I am attempting to track down the actual survey or even the press release from TiVO. There's no link in your artible. And of the few other articles, there's no links there. Hard to evaluate when, for example, we don't know how they executed the survey - the absolute starting fundamental for interpreting data.

    That said, there is reason to be concerned because it's Digitalsmiths are actually behind the survey. They are owned by TiVO.

    From their website, the survey was created as part of a content strategy to try to get people to buy their services selling alternative video distribution - anything BUT TV...

    Maybe it's all accurate. But I really wish we had the background - at the bottom of the post at least - so we know the genesis of the data. Especially because this is all self-reported data which makes it far harder to know where/how to trust.

  3. Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct, November 18, 2016 at 5:34 p.m.

    Incidentally, I have now opened myself up to infinite contacts from Digitalsmiths and have obtained their write-up. 

    It also doesn't give any of the critical information:


    • Was this conducted by phone or online?

    • What discipline was used to ensure a representative sample?

    • Where did the list come from if by phone?

    • If online, how was it conducted? What ensures representative sample?


    Only after we know that does the survey mean anything. 

    Even after we know it, the habits information is quite flakey because consumer recall of habits is very, very poor and inaccurate. We just don't remember all the kinds of details of these things at the level at which markters would like us to. :-)

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