The issue of consumer cord cutting and the distribution of content on alternative platforms was a major topic of discussion during the past week’s Cable Show in Chicago, both on show panels and in the hallways of the McCormick Place convention center.
But according to a recent Nielsen report on consumer viewing habits, Americans are watching more hours of traditional television while also increasing their video consumption on the web and mobile phones.
Overall TV viewership increased 22 minutes per month per person during the first quarter of 2011 compared to the same period last year with consumers averaging more than 158 hours of television viewing a month, according to Nielsen. More importantly for cable operators, 91 percent of TV households are still paying for a TV subscription during the period.
Given those numbers, it’s clear that Americans are not ready to “cut the cord” on their cable service anytime soon.
But that doesn’t mean they’re not watching content on other platforms. The number of Americans watching video on mobile phones increased by 41% over first quarter 2010 and more than 100% since 2009, according to Nielsen. The number of hours consumers are watching video over the web increased by 34% to over 4 hours per month.
Worrisome for operators is the fact that young, 18-34 year olds are spending more time watching video on the web (more than 7 hours) and on cell phones (more than 4 hours) than any other age demographic, according to Nielsen, while decreasing the amount of time viewing traditional television .
NBCUniversal president of TV networks distribution Bridget Baker expressed that very concern Wednesday during a Cable Show programming session when she said “It’s not a the question of whether [young people] will cut the cord of cable or even shave it, the question becomes … when [do they] ever subscribe to cable?”