49 Million TV Viewers Dubbed TV 'Defectors'

While senior TV executives claim cord-cutting hasn’t reach a tipping point yet, over one in five of all U.S. consumers are thinking about cutting back on their pay TV services.

These consumers total 49 million people, according to a GfK MRI study — around 21% of the U.S. population who want less TV service. The study calls them “defectors,” which includes a wide range of consumers — from those who want to cut back or cancel pay TV to those who have never had a pay TV service.

In addition, there are 22 million people (9%) who want more TV, called “desirers.” These include people looking to maintain or increase, or are coming back to buy a pay TV service.

One key difference between the two groups emerges with regard to live TV — 70% of desirers agreeing it is “very important” or “important” versus 50% for “defectors.”



The study classifies “defectors” as being a bit more college-educated, older, male and with a slightly higher median household income than “desirers.”

Desirers stream more TV (74%) than defectors (68%), and watch slightly more TV — 25 hours per week versus 23 hours per week for “defectors.” Desirers are driven by an “appreciation of TV” in all forms, while defectors are focused on “economics.”

The GfK MRI study “Cord Evolution” was produced from a national survey in October 2015.

On Tuesday, Jeff Bewkes, chairman/CEOof Time Warner, said consumers who are pay TV cord-cutters haven’t reached the “tipping point” yet of having a material effect on the business.

3 comments about "49 Million TV Viewers Dubbed TV 'Defectors'".
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  1. Leonard Zachary from T___n__, December 9, 2015 at 1:49 p.m.

    Les Movvnes says 10% growth is achievable regardless what the consumer or public does and that Advertisers will pay more. Ed please comment.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, December 9, 2015 at 4:01 p.m.

    Leonard, I would assume that part of this bullish sentiment  at CBS is based on what they are hearing from certain advertisers who are disappointed by digital's many problems and are tilting back---in their short term thinking---towards traditional TV. I also believe that CBS and other TV ad sellers are expecting to "monetize" their unmeasured  digital and long delayed audiences, which can add 10-15% more viewers---if Nielsen cooperates---hence more ad revenues. They are also bolstered by a very strong scatter market.

    While I have strong reservations about the engagement levels of many of the so-called "unmeasured" audiences that the networks and some cable channels hope to have included in their selling metrics, the buyers don't seem to be focused on this as much as on simply getting the "data". Which means that once these new viewers are reported, they will bring in added ad dollars.

    The plain fact is that many large advertisers are still wedded to traditional TV due to its proven ability to communicate their ad campaigns to mass audiences---even if these are somewhat more difficult to reach these days. Although rating fragmentation reduces frequency, and ad zapping is a growing but, as yet, not an overwhelming problem, an advertiser can still get 70% or more reach per month if the buys are spread out and this is something that is very difficult, if not impossible to match digitally. Finally, there is the ability to merchandise traditional TV show buys, which is still a powerful lure.

    Last, but not least, I believe that CBS and other networks are testing the waters of a two-revenue stream business model as regards program development. Here,  primetime fare is funded , first by SVOD subscriptions, and later by ad dollars when the same shows run on the network lineups and in syndication. CBS's "Star Trek" gambit is  the first of these attempts and it bears close watching.

    In short, I would not be surprised to see CBS score an 7-8% gain in ad revenues next year, but whether this is sustainable over a longer haul, remains to be seen.

  3. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, December 10, 2015 at 8:33 a.m.


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