Real answers: Why people are cutting the cord
Price is a factor, of course, but not the only one for dropping cable
March 9, 2017
It’s clear cord cutting is happening.
Everyone assumes it’s a money thing, and certainly some people are motivated by a desire to slash their household expenses.
But there are other reasons behind the decision to eliminate pay TV services, and a new survey by TiVo explores those motivations.
The survey, one done quarterly by the DVR service of people throughout the United States and Canada, found that 17 percent of respondents did not subscribe to pay TV, and a fifth of that number had eliminated it within the past year.
The big question—why?
Most people who had cut the cord cited the price of pay TV.
But they also mentioned other reasons. Another was the availability of streaming services such as Hulu, Amazon and Netflix. If you already subscribe to those services, you don’t really need cable if you’re just looking for content.
One other top reason given by respondents for dropping pay TV: They no longer felt any need for it. A surprising number said they were fine with using an antenna to receive broadcast TV channels and didn’t feel the need for the additional channels cable had to offer.
Too many channels?
That gets to an interesting issue in the whole cord cutting movement—the huge number of channels forced on subscribers by most cable TV plans.
According to TiVo’s survey, 18 channels would be the optimal cable TV package for most respondents.
Yet subscribers to cable get an average 189 channels, according to Nielsen. That means they’re paying for more than 150 networks they don’t really want and don’t really watch.
Indeed, while the price of the average cable bill rose above $100 per month last year, according to Leichtman Research Group, respondents to TiVo’s survey said they’d ideally pay $25 a month for the 18 channels they’d actually watch.
Skinny bundles have emerged as a way to fight cord cutting over the past couple years. These offer fewer cable channels at a lower price.
The focus has been largely on price for those packages, but perhaps cable providers should also be noting the fact that one draw of skinny bundles is not just the lower price but the desire to eliminate the overwhelming number of channels.
That well could be an argument for subscribing to upcoming cable packages from Hulu and YouTube, which pare back the number of channels available.
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