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TV cord-cutting trend slows down

News, 16 December 2016
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NEW YORK: The cord-cutting trend in the US appears to be slowing down, as a new survey has revealed that 84% of pay TV subscribers say they expect to continue subscribing to cable one year from now compared with just 70% in 2015.

Although the proportion is down from 2014, when 91% of pay TV subscribers expected to stick with cable over the following year, the latest findings will provide some comfort for an industry that has had to rise to the challenge of streaming services and other rivals.

According to PwC, the professional services firm, the development indicates that cord-cutting "may continue at a much slower rate than predicted".

PwC reached this conclusion after polling 1,200 US consumers for its latest annual TV and video consumption study, entitled Videoquake 4.0: Binge, stream, repeat – how video is changing forever.

The report also found that access to sports programming and variety of content across pay TV services are the main drivers for subscribing to cable or satellite services.

In addition, the majority of cord-cutters indicate that they would subscribe or re-subscribe to pay TV services if they could receive customised bundles, which PwC described as an opportunity for cable, satellite and telco companies.

Turning to cord-trimmers, or those who scale back their pay TV packages, PwC unearthed the interesting finding that 51% of respondents say they now pay more for video content than they did a year ago. Indeed, 42% of all US consumers say they are paying more for video programming than a year ago.

"Paradoxically, the research revealed that more than half of cord trimmers, who expressed a desire to reduce their bills by reducing their TV bundles, said they now pay more for video content than they did a year ago," the report said.

"Apparently, trimming the cord did not save them money, likely because they added costs of streaming services or paid apps. This indicates they are willing to pay extra for a more streamlined or focused experience on where they find value."

Elsewhere, the survey confirmed that mobile viewing is on the rise. The great majority (91%) of respondents own a smartphone and three-quarters (76%) of them view video on their mobile devices, with more than half doing so on a daily basis.

Another 76% also say they now watch more video on their smartphones than a year ago, while half (50%) are watching more video on their tablets compared to last year.

Data sourced from PwC; additional content by Warc staff

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