Who Remains For Legacy TV Viewing? Quiet Quitters

While cord-cutters of traditional pay TV continue to be a big problem, analysts worry about another troublesome metric:  Consumers who still have a legacy pay TV bundle but now  watch dramatically less linear TV.

Inscape refers to this group as “quiet quitters” -- household members who have sharply reduced their cable/satellite viewing time -- but still pay for their legacy TV bundle. 

In the second quarter of this year, 9% of U.S. pay TV households (6.3 million, according to industry estimates) have reduced viewing by 75% from the year before. Another 8.5% (5.95 million) have reduced viewing by 50% to 75%.



Inscape, a major provider of TV measurement that is mostly done through automated content recognition (ACR), says these are households that watched at least six minutes of cable and satellite viewership in each of the last four quarters. 

According to other data from Inscape, streaming share of viewing is now 2.9% higher to a 53.8% share in the second quarter versus the same period in the year before. Overall cable and satellite viewing is down by about the same amount -- 2.7% -- to a 37.1% share. 

Other sources show the over-the-air/antenna TV share has slipped to 3.7% from 4.4%. TV viewing through gaming consoles has inched up to 5.4% from 4.9%.

What remains for cable and satellite TV services?: News and sports programming. Over 76% of all sports viewing comes via cable/satellite and over-the-air, with over 85% of news TV viewing from cable/satellite/over-the-air.

Only 23% of all sports viewing -- and 15% of news viewing -- is on streaming services. Inscape says the streaming data includes vMVPDs and sports and news-focused apps.

Inscape’s viewing data comes from over 22 million opted-in smart TV devices nationwide -- which includes gaming consoles, antenna, cable, satellite, apps, FAST channels and connected devices.

1 comment about "Who Remains For Legacy TV Viewing? Quiet Quitters".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, September 6, 2023 at 9:37 a.m.

    All very interesting, Wayne. But this data is based on ACR set usage only. Assuming that it's a nationally projectable sample of all ACR sets---I can't say if that's true or not---it does not reflect "viewing" in the same homes on non-ACR sets nor does it reflect viewing in homes that don't have ACR sets. Also, homes don't "watch" TV, peole do.

    As a result it should come as no surprise to find that Nielsen's national people meter panel---which represents all kinds of TV sets in all kinds of TV homes---- provides a very different picture of how streaming TV's share of "viewing" compares with "linear TV"---though, clearly, streaming's share is slowly increasing as more cord cutters migrate to CTV where many now watch the same kinds of content as before on FASTs and, to a lesser extent, via AVODs. .

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