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Broadcast-Only TV Homes With Broadband Soar: Nielsen

The number of U.S. households with broadcast-only TV and broadband climbed 23% in the third quarter of 2011 -- although they're just 4.4% of all TV homes and the jump is not necessarily evidence of growing cord-cutting, according to Nielsen.

The increase "could reflect broadcast-only homes upgrading to broadband as their needs change," the research firm wrote in its Cross-Platform Report for Q3 2011.

And while 1 million more households in Q3 2011 had broadband and broadcast-only TV, homes with pay TV and broadband increased by 4.2 million, up 5.5% from the year prior, to 80.8 million.

But broadcast-only/broadband homes watch half as much television as the general population and twice the amount of Internet video. "Whether they're cord-cutters or former
broadcast-only homes that upgraded to Internet service, these homes
represent a very small but growing group of U.S. consumers," Nielsen

Roughly the same percentage of consumers in broadcast-only/broadband homes watch traditional TV, stream or use the Internet as in all television homes, according to Nielsen. The bulk of their viewing is still on TV. But in Q3, that cohort watched less TV -- 122.6 minutes vs. 256 minutes per day for all TV households -- and 11.2 minutes of streaming on average each day compared with just 5 minutes daily for all TV households.

The fact that the heaviest Internet-video users watch the least
amount of TV points to the urgent need for the pay-TV industry moving
rapidly to authenticated online services, according to BTIG analyst Rich

"To mitigate the risks posed by streaming video,
network/content owners need to embrace TV Everywhere and not simply
create apps, but create apps across all platforms and devices, which
enable robust content," he wrote in a blog post.

Meanwhile, overall TV viewing across all households continued to grow in the third quarter of 2011, to 146 hours and 45 minutes, up 1
hour and 17 minutes from the year prior, according to Nielsen.

According to Nielsen, in the third quarter of 2011, the number of U.S. homes subscribing to cable TV decreased 4.1% year over year, to 61.2 million, while satellite households increased 2.1% to 34.7 million and telco TV subscribers jumped 21.1% to 8.3 million.