What Would You Rather Quit? Cable Or Netflix?

Nielsen held a little chat with some journalists the other day to talk about the mystifying things happening with viewers, as in where, how and when they’re doing their watching.

It’s not quite as it may be perceived.

For one, Glenn Enoch, the senior vice president for audience insights and analysis, suggests that while many may try subscription video on demand services in addition to cable and broadband, if they’re going to drop one, it’s probably going to be the subscription service.  Nielsen looked at a three month time period and determined that 4.4% will dump their SVOD service, and a smaller percentage will drop SVOD and broadband. But hardly anybody in that group--0.3%--drops cable.  By that measure, SVOD isn’t as sticky as cable, and Enoch gently suggests, maybe the cord-cutting thing is a little overly alarmist. I hate to tell you that on the very day the Comcast/Time Warner deal officially fell apart, a veritable holiday for some of us. 

But Nielsen’s data also show that 66% of all U.S. households have at least one pay service and for the small group of broadband only households, 44% have one SVOD service, 41% have two and and 14% have three. So clearly, where there’s a will to cut a cord, there’s a way to find substitutes.

SVOD subscribers, no surprise, are younger and richer, and I, for one, usually like to discover when what I think is my own peculiar habit is far more normal than I thought. So when Nielsen points out that one-third of U.S. homes use some connected TV device on Saturdays, I can relate. It’s a prime binge day.

But looking at the charts, that Saturday stat isn’t really very different than connected TV device use every other day of the week. On Tuesday, one of the most anonymous days of the week, for example, about 29% of U.S. households use some connected TV device. Any day of the week, on average, about 30.4% of us are using a connected device some of the time, up from 28.4% a year ago. And for the one month of January studied, on the average day, 3.3% of us only only used a connected device, up a percentage point from the year before.

Here’s a cool Nielsen stat: For the measured three month period--91 days between January and March--the 18-34 millennial bracket watched on 23 days for a total of 66 and a half hours, and that’s nearly three hours per usage day. That’s a lot of watching, far bigger than any other age group, and by the way, that’s the group that says it’s very iffy about subscribing to cable or watching conventional TV. So obviously, stuff is happening.
4 comments about "What Would You Rather Quit? Cable Or Netflix? ".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, April 24, 2015 at 2:39 p.m.

    Really? It's like asking which would rather give up: breathing or sex?  The follow-up question might be, oh, you dislike sex that much?

  2. Jessica Thorpe from EXPO, April 24, 2015 at 2:40 p.m.

    Easiest question of the day.  If i wasn't so lazy I would have ditched DirectTV 6 months ago!

  3. Thomas Siebert from BENEVOLENT PROPAGANDA, April 24, 2015 at 3:53 p.m.

    Already picked. Netflix > DirecTV.

  4. Peter Losh from Undisclosed , December 27, 2015 at 11:12 p.m.

    Easiest question ever. I already gave cable the boot.

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