ESPN Study Finds Purported Cord-Cutting Trend Overstated

According to a New York Times article, a recent ESPN study found the number of viewers cutting their cable--and instead watching television on the internet--to be fairly insignificant. The 0.28% of households that took such action over the past three months were partially offset by the addition of 0.17% of formerly broadcast-only households that signed up for pay TV and broadband. The net change then, was a 0.11% decrease in the number of households with cable bundles.

The study was conducted at least in part because of real concerns among television executives that people are abandoning TV in favor of viewing over the internet. The results, confirmed by the Nielsen Company, were encouraging to TV executives, and led to the conclusion that "the cancellations are currently a 'very minor' phenomenon." Others remained unconvinced, warning that cord-cutting will become a real problem of which television should be wary.

Nick Haas (nihaas@umich.edu)
SSDAN Office

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