Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

More Cord-Cutting Drumbeats: “Very Likely” Cutters Growing In Number

We’re still debating how big a phenomenon cord-cutting is. And we’re still debating why people are cutting the cord, or simply not signing up for pay TV in the first place.

But the murmur of people who say they are thinking about cord-cutting is getting louder, according to a new report from Magid Advisors.

The media consulting firm released new survey numbers today which show the number of pay TV subscribers who are considering turning off their service — and not replacing it with another service — on a steady increase.

Magid says 2.7 percent of pay TV customers say they are thinking about cutting the cord in the next year. That’s up from 2.2 percent a year ago, and 1.9 percent in 2011. (Note the numbers on the bar chart below look off, because of a glitch in the PowerPoint-Google Doc translation process. Just pretend the decimal is over two places to the right. Presto!)


More than half of the might-be-cutters say they would do it because they get enough video to keep them happy via outlets like Netflix, Hulu and Apple’s iTunes, Magid says. But more than half also say they would do it because of economic reasons.

Not surprisingly, the number of might-be-cutters increases when you talk to younger people: Magid says 4.4 percent of 18-to-34-year-olds are thinking about cutting. Also not terribly surprising is that people who really love ESPN, which owns programming you can’t find anywhere else, are less likely to say they’d leave TV behind.

Obviously, the number of people who say they’ll go without pay TV is a much larger number than the people who will actually make the leap. And Magid president Mike Vorhaus, who presented the data at a Goldman Sachs conference today, acknowledges that the margin of error in his survey means the number might be smaller (or larger) than his research indicates.

But the direction of his survey results certainly seems to indicate that the notion of cord-cutting is becoming more mainstream. Again, these are people who are already paying for Comcast, or Dish, or Verizon TV — not “cord-nevers” who leave college and never sign up for the service in the first place. And this isn’t taking into account “cord-shavers” — people who want to keep some kind of pay TV, but drop some channels/packages.

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Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”