Several surveys now suggest that "cord cutting" — dropping traditional pay TV service in favor of Internet-based alternatives — is no longer only a niche activity.
An April 2014 survey published by Experian Marketing Services suggests that 7.6 million U.S. households, or 6.5% of all U.S. households, have now cut the cord--up 44% in the past three years. Ownership of an iPhone or iPad "noticeably increases the odds" that a household will cut the cord, Experian said.
"While the term cord-cutter implies that a household had a cable or satellite TV subscription that was cancelled, young adults starting out on their own for the first time may never pay for TV service." Experian Marketing Services
Experian also found that households who only watch streaming video on mobile devices are 1.5 times more likely to cut the cord, while those who watch streaming video on TV are 3.2 times more likely to cut the cord.
Cord cutters consume an average of 212GB of Internet data per month, according to a May 14 report from the Sandvine network analysis firm. Non-cord cutters consume about seven times less data per month.
An Adobe survey, released June 4, shows that online TV consumption -- television programming watched via apps like HGO Go and Watch ESPN -- increased 246% from Q1 2013 to Q1 2014. The survey notes that iOS devices are the most commonly used devices to consume online TV content.
A May 28 survey, released by research firm nScreenMedia, found that 84% of cord cutters are at least somewhat happy with their decision to drop their pay TV subscriptions. "A growing group of broadband consumers are finding that life without pay TV is not only plausible, but also pleasurable," the survey found.
"Cord-cutting used to be an urban myth. It isn't anymore. No, the numbers aren't huge, but they are statistically significant." Craig Moffett, Moffett Research
Time Warner Cable in December 2013 introduced a new service tier called "Starter TV with HBO," which costs $30 per month (for the first 12 months) and is aimed at cord cutters. The tier, which does not include Internet service, includes HBO and 20 basic channels.
Comcast in October 2013 debuted a new, cord cutter-friendly service tier called "Internet Plus" that includes (depending on the market) a 20-25 mbps Internet connection, several local TV channels, and HBO/HBO Go. The tier costs between $40 and $50 per month for the first 12 months, then jumps to $60-$70 per month thereafter.
ABC on Jan. 6 began restricting access to its TV shows online. Viewers must now have a compatible pay TV subscription in order to watch their shows up to a week after they've first aired. Users without a pay TV subscription will now have to wait a week to watch the shows online.
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