Fears of TV cord-cutting overstated, survey finds


Fears of consumers cutting the cord to their pay-TV provider might be overblown, according to a new survey by PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

Most people surveyed said they subscribe to more than one video service. Even younger consumers said they paid for multiple subscriptions. That finding led the consulting firm to conclude that reports of consumers refusing to pay for programming were largely overstated.

Cable television continues to be the No. 1 draw among pay-television options, the consulting firm found in its annual “Video Content Consumption” report, which was released Wednesday.


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The PwC report was based on interviews with 1,008 respondents in June as well as follow-up sessions with focus groups in Los Angeles in July.

Seventy percent of the respondents said they subscribe to cable TV; 26% said they have TV service through a satellite provider.

Netflix was the second-most popular subscription service for TV shows, with 41% saying they currently subscribe to the online video service. Netflix was particularly popular among the millennial generation. More than three-quarters of the respondents ages 18 to 24 said they watched content streamed through Netflix.

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More than 60% of those questioned who watch programming online said they have used Netflix, which ranked as the most popular online video service.

Younger consumers were even more likely to have multiple subscriptions than older consumers. More than half of the consumers ages 18 to 34 said they subscribed to more than one video service. In contrast, only 19% of those in their 50s said they have multiple video subscriptions.

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Not surprisingly, the survey found that nearly three-quarters of respondents would like to customize their video subscriptions and pay only for their favorite channels. Those questioned said they believed that a smaller, customized package would lead to cost savings.

Leaders of the pay-TV industry disagree. They say that picking only favorite channels would lead to higher costs for consumers because the current system allows the cost of all programming to be spread over millions of subscribers.

Nearly 100 million homes in the U.S. subscribe to a pay-TV service, according to Nielsen.

Only 14% of the respondents in the PwC survey expressed an interest in maintaining a “full package” of TV channels. Meanwhile, 59% said they would like to have sports channels available to them.

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“It’s just that I also have a bunch of other channels that just sit there, that aren’t doing anything. So if they could take that off and lower my bill each month, that would be great,” said one of the respondents, who was quoted in the report.

Most people said they would want to pay less than $3 a channel each month. Only 26% said they would be willing to pay more than $4 a month for each channel.

Nearly half of the respondents said they liked to watch TV live. Meanwhile, 57% said they frequently record TV shows on digital video recorders to watch later at a more convenient time.


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