Nielsen Casts Doubt on ‘Cord Cutting’ Trend

The people who keep tabs on TV viewership are throwing cold water on the idea that younger consumers are abandoning cable and satellite TV.

In a press briefing held Thursday, executives from Nielsen suggested cable subscribers who also have a subscription-video-on-demand service are more likely to drop the SVOD than they are cable. In fact, according to Nielsen data, 93% of homes who had both services were more likely to keep the cable and instead drop broadband or SVOD offerings, said Glenn Enoch, senior VP of audience insights for the measurement and data service.

“Cable may have a little more staying power than it’s actually being given credit for recently,” said Enoch.

He suggested that a younger U.S. population is increasingly mobile and prone to add and drop cable service as it moves to new locations. Nielsen has noticed a “seasonal” shift in cable-subscriber churn, with more of it taking place in the fourth and first quarters of the year, but less of it in the second and third quarters.

Recent cable-company results might not provide complete support for that theory. Comcast disclosed in its fourth-quarter earnings results, for example, that it added fewer video customers in that fiscal period – just 6,000 – compared with 46,000 in the year-earlier period. Consumers with cable may not be dropping it, but those that don’t have it yet may not be adding it.

Nielsen executives suggested the company would have more to say about “cord cutting” in weeks to come.

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