Cable TV Subs Fell 5% in 2011: Nielsen - Multichannel

Cable TV Subs Fell 5% in 2011: Nielsen

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U.S. cable operators lost
about 2.9 million video subscribers in
2011, shrinking the overall pay TV market
by 1.5%, even as telcos packed on 1.1
million and satellite-TV providers were
roughly flat at 280,000 net adds, according
to Nielsen data.

Households with broadband and only
free, over-the-air broadcast TV increased
by 631,000 over the course of last year,
climbing 14% to 5.1 million, according to
Nielsen’s Cross-Platform Report for the
fourth quarter of 2011.

Whether or not the broadband-plusfree-
TV increase reflects a gathering “cordcutting”
trend, Nielsen found that 98% of
video viewing remained on traditional TV.

Monthly time spent watching traditional
TV was 153 hours and 19 minutes
in Q4 (down 0.5%), compared with four
hours and 34 minutes watching Internet
video (up 4.2% year over year), Nielsen
reported. Time spent watching timeshifted
TV (including VOD) across all TV
homes increased 12.3%, to 11 hours and
44 minutes per month.

Overall, Nielsen estimates there were
114.7 million TV homes in 2011 — expected
to decline slightly to 114.1 million in 2013.

Cable’s share of pay TV subscribers
dropped to 58.4% in the fourth quarter
of 2011 (versus 60.4% a year prior), with
60.47 million video customers. Satellite
TV had 34.55 million customers and telco
TV operators had 8.45 million in Q4
2011, Nielsen said.

The Nielsen subscriber figures are an aggregate
based on estimates for the 15th of
each month in the quarter.