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Survey: 20% of Pay-TV Subscribers Likely to Cut Cord in Next Year

NEW YORK—A recent survey from research company Consumer Reports found that 77% of its respondents still subscribed to pay-TV services, but that most pay-TV providers received poor marks regarding their service. Based on a variety of factors, consumers are looking for alternative methods to access TV, which includes one in five consumers saying they are either very or extremely likely to cut the cord within the next year.

Complaints levied by respondents in the survey about their pay-TV service included things like unexpected fees and spiking rates after a promotional period ends. Of the people in the survey that had cut the cord on their pay-TV service in the last year, 62% cited rising rates as a reason. The respondents also gave every pay-TV provider the lowest rating for value.

However, even as consumers contemplate dropping their traditional pay-TV services, they are unlikely to get rid of cable-based services. Of respondents with cable-replacement streaming services like SlingTV or AT&T TV Now, 15% said that they were highly likely to drop them within the next year.

Retention rates for individual streaming services like Netflix are even better. Just 6% of consumers said they were likely to drop these types of services.

While streaming is a popular alternative to pay-TV, it isn’t the only one that consumers are exploring. CR found that 22% of its members use an antenna to get free over-the-air TV signals on one or more of the sets in their home.

Still, one of the big things that is keeping traditional pay-TV services alive is that they are often bundled with internet services for convenience and alleged savings. Two-thirds of respondents said they received a special promotion price when they signed up for a bundle service, and 44% said they continued to pay that special rate at the time of the survey.

If problems over price or other issues do arise though, consumers find benefits in haggling, be it reduced prices or in some cases getting access to premium channels like HBO or Showtime.

Consumer Reports conducted the survey with more than 108,000 responses. To find out more about the survey, click here.