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ESPN Says New Subscribers Offset Cord-Cutting

NEW YORK: ESPN discounts cord-cutting as a trend across the cable TV industry. The network said it did a study of Nielsen data and found just 0.18 percent of U.S. households cut the cord “between fourth quarter 2010 and first quarter 2011.” ESPN defined cord-cutters as multichannel homes that dropped their cable or satellite TV subscriptions but retained broadband.

The number of households dropping pay TV during the three-month period was offset by broadcast-only households subscribing to multichannel service, ESPN said. The net-net between the two was zero.

ESPN said that the “popular image of a cord cutter is a home with both multichannel and broadband connections, who decide to opt out of the multichannel cord and rely on streaming content from the Internet.” However, the network’s study indicated that 71 percent of people in cord-cutting households were “non- or light streamers.” Additionally, the growth of broadband homes was four times that of those cutting cords.

“We continue to see minuscule amounts of cord cutting among U.S. households,” said Glenn Enoch, vice president of Integrated Media Research for ESPN. “Rather than disturbing the existing avenues of distribution, the continued growth of broadband penetration and use of online video provides a tremendous opportunity for growth in media consumption across all platforms.”

Sports fans were unlikely to cut cords, the Entertainment Sports Programming Network said.