Are they or aren't they? The debate centered around cord cutting continues, and the latest data from Ericsson ConsumerLab is saying nay.
Ericsson's annual TV and Video report
found only 7 percent of more than 100,000 surveyed individuals in 40 countries have cancelled their pay TV subscriptions since 2011. In contrast, social TV is an burgeoning field
, with 62 percent of viewers saying they've used social media while watching TV, an 18 percentage point increase from a year prior.
While 69 percent of women use social networks when watching television, the 62 percent of men who engage in such behavior are more likely to discuss what they're watching, especially with live sports. Of those who are 45 to 59 years old, 30 percent partake in social TV, compared with 40 percent of the overall population.
What do people like to do when watching TV? No. 2 on the list is talking to others on the same room, falling behind browsing the Web (talk about anti-social TV). Of the people who are discussing the TV shows they're watching, more than 20 percent do it at least daily.
While mobile video is a booming field, with 67 percent of respondents saying they used tablets, smartphones and laptops to watch content and partake in social TV, there are still barriers to a better viewing experience, including:
- limited connectivity
- limited battery capacity
- limited data in phone plan
- content not being available on public networks
- small screen
- lean-forward experience
Though the cost of pay TV rises faster than inflation in the U.S., the overwhelming majority of homes still subscribe to cable or satellite. Their main reasons:
- live viewing, especially with sports programming
- lean-back experience without the need to actively choose what to watch
- collective viewing experience
- ability to partake in social TV (typically happening with live programming)
- the ability to watch exactly what they want, when they want
When asked what features of TV and video services are most important, the top answers include standard- and high-definition programming, ease of use and personalized content. The features that they were willing to pay for include time-shifted viewing, HD quality and theatrical releases for the television. Surprisingly, the last three answers were Internet on the TV, a user-friendly interface, and interactive TV.
Cord cutting and shaving is more prevalent in the U.S., with 7 percent eliminating and 14 percent reducing their subscriptions within the last year. This represents the biggest drops among surveyed countries. Twelve percent upgraded their pay TV packages during this period.
China, on the other hand, reports 38 percent have increased their offerings -- the largest percentage among surveyed countries -- with 5 percent cutting and another 5 percent shaving the cord.