VAB Claims Cord-Cutting No Big Deal

A TV advertising trade group says cord-cutting is overblown.

The Video Advertising Bureau, which represents broadcast and cable network TV network owners, says subscribers for the pay TV business --- cable, satellite, and telco -- have remained relatively steady for the last five years, now holding at 98 million homes for 2017.

That comes to 83% of Nielsen's total TV universe of 118 million homes -- a 1% decline versus a year ago.

Broadcasting-only homes amount to 13% or 15.2 million homes -- up from 12% in 2016 and 11% in 2015. Broadband-only homes are 4% or 5.4 million homes; it was 4% in 2016 and 3% in 2015.

Still, pay TV declines are not coming from broadband-only and broadcast-only homes, says Sean Cunningham, president/CEO of the VAB.  

Streaming video adds to traditional TV, he says. Though streaming options have grown, the VAB says a majority of over-the-top streaming TV homes -- 71% - also have a pay TV service. Says Cunningham: “It’s all about more interest in TV.”



And traditional TV still dominates streaming. “Even the heaviest video streamers watch eight times as much TV as they do streaming video.”

With regard to TV consumers who have abandoned pay TV services, VAB refutes data about millennials and cord-cutting. While 38% of those who cut the cord are millennials, an almost equal amount -- 31% -- are baby boomers. Some 29% are Gen Xers, and 3% are senior TV consumers.

2 comments about "VAB Claims Cord-Cutting No Big Deal".
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  1. Neha Misra from MBuy, September 15, 2017 at 11:32 a.m.

    I have to say I will have to agree with this article. A blanket statement doesn't make sense when talking about TV consumption. Much of the older demographic (A 35+) are watching Both TV and Pay TV, that is almost 54% of the US population (as reported in 2016). We personally see that in our media planning and performance data. Older demographics are still watching TV, there are definitely cord cutters- who some day might become the majority, but that is not the situation right now. And yes we cannot stop technology from changing, and people from adopting it. If consumers can adopt new technology and innovation- it would be a loss for media companies and advertiers alike to not follow suit.  

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics, September 18, 2017 at 10:33 a.m.

    We are preparing the information for our upcoming annual about television, "TV Dimensions 2018", and this is one of the many subjects we keep a close eye on, as well as the growth of SVOD ( OTT ) usage, the acceptance and significance of the new "skinny bundles" being offered to consumers, etc. Of course, these are all inter-related and while there is a definite trend towards the use of non-traditional forms of TV/video, its extent has been greatly overstated by those who want TV to adopt digital audience metrics, programmatic buying, shorter ad units, etc.

    As I keep pointing out, heavy viewers---that 20% of the population that accounts for 50% of all viewing time---continue to support their favorite medium  and relatively few of these are "cord cutters" . Of course, the younger age groups are more into digital and more likely to cancell their cable subscriptions---but not all of them---as is often claimed----just a higher percentage than applies to the total population. While digital media deserves close scrutiny by all advertisers, it simply is not true that you cant reach 18-24s or 25-34s with TV. Such contentions are nothing more than scare tactics, trying to stampede media-ignorant advertisers away from TV, when a savvy agency media department, if given a free hand, can find any number of ways to target such generally light viewers by using the types of TV content that they do watch.

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