Is Decline of Broadcast TV to Blame for High Cable Bills?

Traditional television viewing continues its decline, according to new charts published by Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne and his team. The charts show the “long, slow decline of old-fashioned broadcast and cable TV, and the number of ad dollars chasing the dinosaur medium,” writes Business Insider. According to the numbers, there has been a 50 percent decline in broadcast TV audience ratings since 2002. Continue reading Is Decline of Broadcast TV to Blame for High Cable Bills?

BSkyB to Offer Sky Sports Access on Per Day Basis Online

UK pay TV company BSkyB will begin offering its Sky Sports content on a per-day basis for people interested in watching a particular event, or in sampling programming on Sky Sports. Customers can pay £9.99 ($15.80) for 24 hours of Sky Sports coverage. “This will mark the first time that consumers will be able to watch BSkyB’s premium sports content on a pay-as-you go basis without a pay TV subscription,” notes The Hollywood Reporter. Continue reading BSkyB to Offer Sky Sports Access on Per Day Basis Online

Streaming TV Arrives on Campus, Could Prevent Cord-Cutting

Tivli understands that young adults today are not watching TV in the traditional manner, but instead they are taking in programming via streaming subscriptions and other online alternatives. The startup is an “attempt to adapt to the ways young people increasingly want to watch TV — through a computer or tablet or video game console — while keeping the existing cable model intact,” reports The New York Times. Continue reading Streaming TV Arrives on Campus, Could Prevent Cord-Cutting

New Research Indicates TV Everywhere is Not Yet Everywhere

According to a new study from research firm GfK Media, consumers are streaming online video more than ever before, but only a reported 17 percent of pay TV subscribers have watched cable programming online using TV Everywhere services. The study represents the “latest bad news” for the TV Everywhere initiative, reports the Wall Street Journal. Continue reading New Research Indicates TV Everywhere is Not Yet Everywhere

In a Multichannel World, Pay TV Fought its Future in 2012

According to Variety, 2012 was more about what didn’t happen than what did happen when considering the intersection of TV and digital media. As the multichannel world continues “begging for disruption,” the cost of the “average pay-TV subscription has skyrocketed 68 percent over the past 10 years,” notes the article. It seems something will definitely have to give, “but despite the fragility of their delicate bond, programmers and distributors didn’t face any real challenge in 2012 from any of the expected upstarts hoping to gain rights to live TV and package it in more innovative ways.” Continue reading In a Multichannel World, Pay TV Fought its Future in 2012

New Cord-Cutting Tool: Boxee to Offer USB Live TV Stick in January

  • Boxee is augmenting its broadband box for cord-cutters with a USB dongle that provides users access to broadcast TV.
  • According to paidContent: “Boxee, which has been working mightily to get people to cut their cable cords with its own broadband box for five years, is preparing a new add-on product in January that will let users pull out the cable cord and plug a USB device into their cable box, giving them access to broadcast TV channels like ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC for free.”
  • “If you live and die by ESPN, then yes, you have to stay on cable. But we believe there are plenty of people who just want access to regular broadcast channels,” says Avner Ronen, CEO and co-founder of Boxee.
  • However, Ronen believes there are consumers interested in basic broadcast content that would benefit from this approach. “The problem with canceling your cable subscription and relying just on the Internet has been the lack of live sports, a presidential address, local news, special events and live TV shows,” he told paidContent. “But these things are all available on broadcast TV channels…for free, over the air in HD.”
  • The Live TV stick will be available for $49, as an add-on to the $180 Boxee Box.

Cord-Cutting: Report Predicts Homes without Cable Will Triple by 2016

  • A new report from media forecasting firm Magnaglobal shows that by 2016 cable subscriptions will dramatically decline as online becomes the medium of choice.
  • Magnaglobal predicts that 9 million households will not subscribe to traditional pay TV services (triple today’s amount), of which 4 million will be cord cutters who cancel their service to opt for content via the Internet.
  • Additionally, The New York Times points out that the number of young consumers who have never signed up for cable or satellite service, but rely on services such as Hulu and Netflix for their media, will continue to grow. “The number of people who never signed up for cable is expected to double — to 5 million, from 2.5 million today — by 2016, according to the report.”
  • The growth of DVR ownership is also expected to decline, as consumers continue to adopt devices that enable streaming of content via the Web.

Cord-Cutting: Record Numbers in Cancelled Pay TV Subscriptions

  • The six largest cable and satellite TV providers lost 580,000 customers in the second quarter. This marks the largest such decline in U.S. history.
  • The number of pay TV subscribers has declined in three of the past five quarters.
  • “Rising prices for pay TV, coupled with growing availability of lower-cost alternatives, add to a toxic mix at a time when disposable income isn’t growing,” explains Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett. “For younger demographics, where in many cohorts unemployment is north of 30 percent, and especially for those with limited or no interest in sports, the pay TV equation is almost inarguably getting less attractive.”
  • Netflix and Hulu provide lower cost options. Competition from AT&T and Verizon is also having an effect.
  • Providers are struggling to deal with the trend. Dish, for example, is re-positioning itself away from lower income customers. Instead, the company plans to focus on more expensive offerings to increase average revenue per user.

Are Consumers Ready to Cut the Cord?

As alternatives to traditional cable TV services continue to be introduced, the discourse grows regarding whether or not consumers are ready to “cut the cord.” Recent data from ESPN and research firm SNL Kagan suggests that any cable subscriber losses are being offset by gains elsewhere. However, as a percentage, fewer households are subscribing to cable than in the previous year. And financial services firm Stifel Nicolaus recently reported that pay TV might not be making a comeback over the longer term. The research report indicates year-over-year subscriber growth was at a mere 0.3 percent during 2010 — “the lowest year-over-year growth on record.”

According to Stifel Nicolaus analyst Christopher King: “Cable operators have been quick to point to housing and the anniversary of the nationwide digital transition in 2009 as reasons for recent subscriber declines; however, our analysis suggests that growth in the pay TV market has underperformed household formation in recent quarters and the impact of the 2009 digital transition should no longer be an issue.”

The pay TV market is over-saturated (at more than 84 percent of households), and while many continue to blame the state of the economy and the saturation on the declining numbers, it is interesting to note that Netflix added 6.4 million subscribers during 2010. As the cost of pay TV subscriptions continue to rise, consumers are beginning to “further re-evaluate the value they place on traditional pay TV services which bodes well for the likes of Netflix, Amazon and Apple TV among others,” King wrote in the report.

Editor’s Note: For those interested, the GigaOM post “Cord Cutting Threat Ain’t Over Yet” features some very interesting charts including Pay TV Subscriber Growth 3Q09-4Q10, Pay TV Penetration 4Q06-4Q10, and Netflix Subscriber Growth 2010 (as compared to Pay TV).

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