Nielsen: Cord cutting’s no big deal

April 24, 2015

Nielsen: Cord cutting’s no big deal

Nielsen: People are more likely to drop SVOD services




Originally posted from Media Life Magazine


There are those who think cord cutting, or eliminating traditional pay-TV services such as cable or satellite, is a big looming issue in media.

And there are those who think people are getting worked up based on very little evidence.

Add Nielsen to the latter group.

The TV measurement company released new data on TV viewership on Thursday, including the latest numbers on cable subscriptions, subscription video on-demand services such as Netflix, and the amount of user churn for both.

The numbers show people are a lot more likely to drop an SVOD service than they are to unsubscribe from cable.

And getting SVOD doesn’t necessarily mean a household is ready to ditch cable. Nielsen says 93 percent of households that have cable, broadband and SVOD are more likely to drop the other two services than cable.

“Not every SVOD home is abandoning cable,” says Nielsen senior vice president of audience insights Glenn Enoch, who spoke with reporters about the findings.

“Of all the things we looked at, cable, broadband, SVOD, the ones with cable subscriptions are much less likely to drop it over time.”

Enoch also suggested some data on cord cutting is being misinterpreted.

He said younger people, the ones most likely to cut the cord, are also more likely to move from place to place than older folks, who tend to be more settled.

When these young people move, they cancel their cable subscriptions, but they often resubscribe when they get to their new location.

Nielsen also has noted that many people are system hopping. That is, they’re looking for better deals by moving to different cable suppliers. So, for example, they may cancel their Comcast subscription, but that’s only because they’re moving to Verizon for cable.

Enoch noted there tends to be less cable churn in second and third quarters of each year.

Still, other researchers may not agree with Nielsen’s conclusions.

SNL Kagan said last year that people paying for TV services fell by a quarter million in 2013, the first ever full-year drop.

And other researchers such as nScreen Media point out cord cutting isn’t exactly the issue. The issue is that many Millennials never sign up for cable service in the first place, so they have no cord to cut.



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