Commentary

Cord-Shaving & Mobile Viewing Rise, Report Says

Over-the-top viewing is on the rise, most consumers watch some TVs and movies online, and now Netflix has won an Emmy.
Clearly, the sky is falling on traditional TV and multichannel service providers. Right?

Maybe not.

In a study of consumer video habits, research firm Altman Vilandrie & Co found that less than 5% of consumers watch online video regularly instead of subscribing to TV, a finding that perhaps underscores the “myth” of cord-cutting. Live programming is still a big draw for pay TV viewers, the firm said.

But service providers shouldn’t rest on their incumbent laurels, because TV viewers are indeed leaning on online viewing. In fact, cord-cutting may not be happening en masse, but since 2010 “cord-shaving” has doubled to 26% of consumers who have cut back on services like VOD.

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Multiscreen viewing is broadening. The report found that 80% of consumers under 35 watch TV shows and movies online weekly, with more than a quarter of the under-45 crowd watching weekly on tablets. The percent of consumers watching TV and movies weekly on a smartphone has nearly tripled since 2011, from 5% to 14% this year.

These new habits are vital for service providers to keep in mind because they point to the direction in which consumers are headed: viewing on any screen.

Awareness of TV Everywhere is also an issue. While all of the major multichannel providers offer some form of TV Everywhere, only 32% of consumers said they were aware that their cable TV subscription included access to it, the report said.

Meanwhile, over-the-top usage in general is rising. Parks Associates recently reported that 44% of US broadband homes have a subscription to an online video service such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, or Amazon.

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