Cord-Cutting Not Drawing a Flood of Pay TV Blood: Study

Holding that there’s a “false narrative” around cord-cutting, the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB) issued a report finding that cable TV subscriptions have remained steady, at around 83% of households, despite a surging number of OTT options.

The study, Cutting to the Chase, which refers to data from sources such as Nielsen, SNL Kagan, and TiVo, among others, found that streaming services tend to be used as a complement to, rather than a replacement, of cable TV subscriptions. Most homes (71%) of TV homes use streaming services as an add-on to pay TV, VAB said.

That position runs counter to recent forecasts and reports that cord-cutting is a troubling and accelerating trend. This week eMarketer predicted that 22.2 million U.S. adults will have cut the cord by year-end, up 33% from 2016, and ahead of a prior end-of-2017 estimate of 15.4 million.

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VAB said its data shows that a bump in broadband- and broadcast-only homes hasn’t come at the expense of “Cable+” homes, which declined by less than 1% last year. Additionally, broadband-only and broadcast-only homes still represent just 4% and 13% of TV households, respectively.

“The numbers don’t support the narrative of cord-cutting either accelerating or being evidence of some consumer movement to streaming apps as a preference to TV; in fact even the heaviest video streamers watch eight times as much TV as they do streaming video” Sean Cunningham, VAB’s president and CEO, said in a statement."