That’s been the debate for the last few years. Sure, we all know there’s cord-shaving, but have we uncovered the cold, hard data to support the actual slicing of multichannel service provider cords?
Research firm GfK says cord-cutting is still not a big driver of consumer behavior. That’s in spite of finding in its new report that 19.3% of homes report having broadcast-only TV, up from 17.8% in 2012, and as low as 14% in 2012. Are they snipping cable ties and turning to the online options available from Hulu, Netflix, iTunes, YouTube and others?
The answer is: probably not, even though 5.9% of TV homes cut the cord in the last year.
Here’s what’s really driving the broadcast-only boost. GfK said that only one-third of broadcast-only homes said they canceled their pay TV service, with the majority of those homes citing the need to save money as the reason.
As we mentioned last year, these cost-conscious TV homes may be reaping some of the benefits of the transition to the digital TV (DTV) broadcast standard, making use of that enhanced digital broadcast signal and its better video and audio quality,” says David Tice, senior vice president of media and entertainment of GfK, in a blog post. “I continue to wait for the economy to really gain traction and pick up, which will be the real test if people maintain their broadcast-only status even as economic concerns lessen. That’s when I’ll decide if I’ll pull my toe out and jump in the deep end of the cord-cutting pool.”
There may be time then for TV Everywhere to rise up as a more meaningful option and do its part in nipping any cord cutting in the bud. The Diffusion Group’s recent analysis says TV Everywhere services for the top 14 networks from the 15 largest service providers now reach about 45% of TV homes, or about 43 million households.
But the rollout is taking longer than expected. “TDG believes it is critical for TV networks and multichannel TV operators to resolve their business differences and move forward rapidly with TVE rollouts,” the report said. “It is extremely important both tactically and strategically for pay-TV incumbents to have a robust OTT offering to compete with other forces now dominating this space.”