Confusion Over Streaming Live Events Reduces Cord Cutting

A significant number of pay-TV subscribers would prefer to cut the cord, but they don’t seem to be aware that they can stream sports and other live programming, according to a new report from Telaria.

Telaria examined the widely held assumption that live TV events, from NFL games to local news, are the reason people keep subscriptions to linear networks. Its survey found that 30% of what it calls “cable keepers” said they would drop traditional pay TV if they could live stream sports, events and news.

But 76% of those cable keepers also subscribe to at least one streaming service—some of which have live TV offerings. Netflix is subscribed to by 64% of cable keepers, Amazon by 36% and Hulu by 22%.

Telaria said that three-quarters of cable keepers are already streaming, but they don’t realize the viewing possibilities available through connected TV, so they end up paying for both.

The survey found that 42% of cable keepers think they must have cable to watch live sports. A majority of them (55%) find over-the-top options confusing, and 32% have FOMC, or fear of missing channels, because a favorite network is not included in a skinny streaming package.

"Misconceptions around the availability of live sports and shows on OTT services are keeping cable keepers from realizing streaming’s true potential,” Telaria said. “OTT providers may want to improve discoverability of live content to win over cable keepers.”

Consumer confusion was cited as the biggest barrier to adoption of streaming. “Consumers need more education on how they can navigate the myriad streaming options available,” the company said.

Telaria found that 80% of “live streamers,” defined as people who watch TV through skinny bundles or digital apps, cited cost as a reason for cutting the cord.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.