Report: Cable-TV broadband subscribers considering "cord shaving" this year

A new report from Chadwick Martin Bailey reveals that although cord-cutters — those who drop pay-TV subscriptions in favor of watching movies and TV delivered over-the-top — remain rare, the number of mainstream consumers considering new viewing alternatives is growing.

In fact, the report, “CMB Consumer Pulse: The New Age of Television,” reveals cord “shavers” — who reduce rather than actually cut off their pay-TV service — are likely to account for a significant portion of cable TV subscribers in 2012. The report found 16 percent of those surveyed said they are “highly likely” to cut back on cable TV. Similarly, 20 percent of “high-value” subscribers, those who have an HD box, DVR and premium channels, said they are “likely” to cut back, the report found.

Among the cord shavers, 34 percent said it was likely they would switch from an HD box to an SD box, 18 percent said they were likely to reduce non-premium channels, 14 percent are likely to cut down on the number of boxes in the house and 12 percent are likely to reduce premium channels, according to the report.

The report indicates that although young people are most receptive to watching TV and movies online, a sizable percentage of older Americans also enjoy online entertainment. The report found that among 16- to 29-year-olds, 74 percent have watched online, and that among 30- to 49-year-olds, 55 percent have done so. Even among the two oldest age groups surveys, 50- to 69-year-olds and 70- to 75-year-olds, the percentage of those who have watched movies and TV online stood at 39 percent each.

According to the report, mobile in media consumption often trumps screen size. It found that 58 percent of tablet viewers watched on their portable flat screens while at home, and among those who watched television on tablets, 63 percent have used the tablet even when they could have been watching the same show on a television set.

The CMB Consumer Pulse survey is independent, self-funded research on emerging trends. The latest report on television is based on a survey of 1494 U.S. respondents between the ages of 16 and 75. Respondents have high-speed Internet access at home and watch at least two hours of television per week. The online survey was conducted in December 2011.

Phil Kurz

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.