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Most Cord-Cutters Are Happy They Did It: Study

Although the cord-cutting trend remains small, consumers who have wielded the video shears are apparently happy with their decision.

About 84% of cord-cutters are “at least somewhat happy with their decision,” while 37% said they’re so happy that they have no plans to ever return to a traditional pay-TV service, nScreenMedia found in a new study that surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults with broadband access. Of that same group, 8% said they were “pretty unhappy” with their cord-cutting decision, and 9% said they hated the decision and wished they had service again.

The report – View My Video: Consumer Digital Media Consumption (available here for free with registration) – also found that 17% of U.S. broadband subscribers surveyed say they once took a pay-TV service but have since left their provider, while 10% say they have never subscribed to pay-TV (the so-called “cord-nevers”), and 74% said they currently take a pay-TV service.

“A growing group of broadband consumers are finding that life without pay-TV is not only plausible, but also pleasurable,” said Colin Dixon, founder and chief analyst of nScreenMedia, in a statement. “However, the digital video transition isn’t just affecting this select group.  With more people watching YouTube than TV, it’s touching just about everyone.”

He said this level of content among cord-cutters means finding a way to appeal to this batch of defectors will be challenging. Thirty-one percent of them said they missed TV shows they couldn’t find elsewhere, but just 9% said they missed sports channels – a category seen as important glue that can keep the traditional pay-TV bundle together. Additionally, 30% said they missed nothing that pay-TV offers.

The good news for the pay-TV industry is that their service still dominates usage among customers they’ve manage to gain and hold onto. The median time spent each week by pay-TV subs using the service is 12.98 hours. Next is Internet subscription VOD (4.89 hours), free over-the-air TV (4.72 hours), free Internet video (3.49 hours), and owned digital movies and TV shows (3.12 hours).

And pay-TV, as a whole, just came off a decent quarter. The top 13 MVPDs in the U.S. added 260,000 net video subs in the first quarter, with the largest MSOs shedding 50,000 subs, the fewest quarterly losses over a five-year span, according to Leichtman Research Group.

nScreenMedia’s study also shed more light on which online video apps and services are used most. About 92% reported spending time on YouTube, followed by Netflix (52%), Hulu/Hulu Plus (35%),  Amazon Prime (26%), and premium channel sites such as HBO Go (28%).