Nielsen Casts Doubt on ‘Cord Cutting’ Trend

nielsen Ratings

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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  1. Billiam says:

    “Damage Control”? This is bunk! Most households I know where money is tight are cutting the grossly overcharged cable service and keeping broadband. Alternately, they are picking up mobile broadband to watch their shows on their mobile devices. I watch everything on my computer, my wife DVR’s everything or watches it on demand and our 13 year old watches everything on her iphone with mobile broadband.

    • Nicholas P. Schiavone says:

      “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”
      Romeo and Juliet
      William Shakespeare

      Juliet was right! In TV & Viewing as in True Love, the names of things do not affect what they really are.

  2. Tim Shaw says:

    lol – poor Nielson – shrilling to protect its customers dwindling ad revenues. Ratings are good…nothing to see here…move along now….

    Sad that desperation brings out the stench of shame but Nielson’s head is firmly buried in the sand to avoid the odor.

    • Nicholas P. Schiavone says:

      Spell it right or say nothing at all. It’s spelled “Nielsen.”
      Now, what else don’t you know, Mr. Shaw?
      So far, you’ve scratched the surface deeply.

  3. Nicholas P. Schiavone says:

    I carry no brief for Nielsen, but these allegations against Nielsen and extrapolations of Nielsen data are more than off-base. They are wrong. And wrong by a wide margin!

    There is no doubt that there are grave challenges ahead where Nielsen is concerned, not where TV or Cable are concerned. The real problem now is the danger that Nielsen will stop tabulating its set tuning and audience measurement data and start modeling and manufacturing ersatz TV Tuning & Viewing data like major management consulting firms seem to be doing lately. It appears analysts can no longer differentiate between TV/Video Devices and TV/Video Programs.

    It’s time to hold Nielsen accountable. And it’s just as important to stop consulting consultants like Deloitte and Accenture when they are out of their depth when it comes to TV Audience Measurement today.

    A few superb Media Research Consultants still exist like Gale Metzger, Ed Papazian, Steve Sternberg, Brad Adgate & Mitch Oscar. There are few more gems to be found, but not many. In total, the list is a relatively short one. But without professionals like the MRC’s George Ivie we’ll soon be just as confused about what’s right and wrong as “Batman” Star/Hollywood Liberal Ben Affleck and Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

  4. If it’s a case of existing subscribers sticking with their providers and younger audiences not subscribing at all then all Nielsens have done is confirm that cable is headed the same way as newspapers.

  5. Nicholas P. Schiavone says:

    Perhaps Nielsen can tutor the consultants at Deloitte and Accenture after they tutor the Press at “Variety,” “Deadline Hollywood” and “MediaPost” a little more. As Mike Rowe would say (to himself, because only his parents are watching): “Somebody’s Gotta Do It.” (CNN, You’re so silly. Now, is CNN that “Cannabis sNews (sic) Network”)? Right? No, they’re left! Left … out of 24/7 Cable News.

  6. nerdrage says:

    Nielsens is not an objective observer here, so why should we believe their spin, especially since it’s not backed up by real world data from other sources who have no motive to lie? The popular SVOD services do not have ads, hence Nielsens would never have them as clients, hence Nielsens is trying to discredit their impact.

    • Nicholas P. Schiavone says:

      I carry no brief for Nielsen. And Nielsen has grave challenges. But your allegations are off-base and you are “inadvertently” mistaken – unless you have a hidden agenda.

      The real problem now is the danger that Nielsen will stop tabulating its set tuning and audience measurement data and start modeling and manufacturing ersatz TV Tuning & Viewing data like Deloitte & Accenture seem to be doing of late. It appears we can no longer differentiate between TV/Video Devices & TV/Video Programs.

      Hold Nielsen accountable. Stop consulting consultants out of their depth.

      A few superb Media Research Consultants still exist like Gale Metzger, Ed Papazian, Steve Sternberg, Brad Adgate & Mitch Oscar. There are few more gems to be found, but not many.

      In total, the list is a realtively short one. But without professionals like the MRC’s George Ivie we’ll soon be just as confused about what’s right and wrong as Ben Affleck and Professor Henry Louis gates, Jr.

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