Cord-Cutting on the Rise, TiVo Study Finds

Mirroring other recent findings, the number of consumers who are cutting the cord for traditional pay TV services is on the rise, according to a new quarterly report from TiVo.

Of the 17% of consumers without a pay TV provider, 19.8% of that group said they cut the cord in the past year, up 1.9% on a quarter-to-quarter, and up 2.3% on a year-over-year basis, the company found it its Q4 2016 Video Trends Report, based on a survey of 3,079 adults in the U.S. and Canada.

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“At nearly twenty percent, this is the highest percentage of cord-cutters in a single quarter since TiVo began tracking them in the Q4 2015 survey,” the company noted.

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Price of pay TV services, at 80.1%, was the top reason for cord-cutting, followed by the use of a streaming service such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Video (48.3%), while 27.2% said they use an antenna to get basic broadcast TV channels, the survey found.

With respect to churn, 10% of respondents with pay TV service said they have switched providers in the last three months, the highest result since TiVo started asking that question in Q2 2013.

When asked if they were planning to change providers in the next six months, 7.6% of respondents said they were planning to cut their pay TV service (up 2% on a quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year basis), and up 5% from results of three years ago. About 6.8% said they plan to change to another pay TV provider, and 3.2% said they intended to switch to an online service or app. About 29.6% were on the fence about making some sort of a change.

With those potential churn numbers factored together, 47.2% said they could leave their current pay TV provider in the next six months. The size of this “at risk” group rose 2.3% q/q and 2.5% y/y, TiVo found.  

When asked what would keep them from churning, the top vote-getters were a more flexible package structure (63.7%), and a service that does a better job integrating video from sources like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon (45.1%) via a unified interface.

At the same time, TV Everywhere services, which provide pay TV subs with streaming access to their subscriptions on a wide array of connected devices, also appears to be gaining ground.

Some 49.1% of survey respondents said they are aware of their pay TV provider’s app, up 2% quarter-on-quarter, and up 9.1% on a year-over-year basis.  It also marks the highest rate of TVE awareness since the study started to monitor it in Q4 2012, TiVo said.

About 30% said they access their pay TV provider’s TVE app, which rose 2.8% q/q and 9.4% y/y – another high water mark for this part of the quarterly study.

Roughly 61% of those who use their pay TV provider’s app also use it on a weekly basis, a 16.1% climb on a year-on-year basis.

Among TV network apps, ABC’s was the most downloaded (5.5%), followed by CNN (5.3%), HBO Go (4.7%), Watches (4.5%), CBS (4.4%), and NBC (4.1%).

Just over 28% said they use one or more apps from individual programmers.