Cord Cutting: Cable’s #1 Yes Man Gets it Wrong, Again.
With Comcast alone hemorrhaging over 600,000 subscribers since January, and the overall industry faring hardly better, cord cutting doubters have had no choice but to change their respective tunes. Cord cutting is a reality, as we have long held. And the current Cablevision-News Corp debacle sure isn’t doing much to engender any warm feelings between subscribers and their cable providers either.
What a difference five months makes
Way back in June, the Wall Street Journal quoted Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. calling cord-cutting "perhaps the most over-hyped and over-anticipated phenomenon in tech history."
Indeed, downplaying and writing off the threat of cord cutting has been de rigeur of late—a kneejerk and dismissive tendency all too prevalent in the pay TV world. But the recent numbers don’t lie, and we don’t think dissatisfied customers do either.
Cable companies were, of course, quick to explain away the recent subscriber losses--citing the overall ill economy, rather than any systemic issues. Comcast said that online video services have had "almost no impact"on their customers’ decisions to cut the cord.
Need some spin? Call in the Cable industry’s “go to” quotemeister, who wasted no time coming up with a catchy explanation.
The New York Times reported:
“Mr. Moffett said the image of the cord-cutter had been that of a ‘cutting-edge technologist’ who preferred to bypass cable to watch programming on computers and on an ever-proliferating array of devices. ‘The reality is it’s someone who’s 40 years old and poor and settling for a dog’s breakfast of Netflix and short-form video.’”
Sounds good, right? Except that it’s completely wrong.
Pithy quote notwithstanding, 100% wrong. Again.
Cord cutting is real. Sound familiar? It should, we’ve been saying it for years. And now, the numbers bear it out. In our latest report, we analyze results of our recently-fielded survey of 2,000 Americans, which shows that 13% of Americans intend to cut the cord in the next 12 months.
And it’s not “poor” forty-somethings settling for a “dog’s breakfast. “
In fact, the “typical” American cord cutter is:
It’s Not (Just) the Economy, Stupid
In our survey, the number one reason cited by intending cord cutters for dropping service was poor value for money. . And with average cable bills approaching $100/month, it’s understandable that consumers are questioning value.
More importantly, our research suggests that it doesn’t really matter what motivates a subscriber to leave. When asked to rank their five "must have" channels, Pay TV consumers chose the four "free networks" (CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX) as the top slots. ESPN rounded out the top 5.
Colorful quotes are fun, but facts do matter.