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Cable Technology Feature Article

March 12, 2012

Americans Cutting the Cord, Saving Money with Cable Alternatives

By Jacqueline Lee, Contributing Writer

Twenty percent of cable customers have either cut the cord or are thinking about it. That’s according to a recent Deloitte (News - Alert) State of the Media Democracy survey. The survey also found that, on the whole, Americans are still consuming content like television shows, movies, books and newspapers. They’re just consuming the content on different platforms.

“Our data shows that while Americans may be less interested in physical content, their appetite for digital content continues to grow. That appetite, coupled with the introduction of new technologies, is leading consumers to access the content they want on a number of different devices,” said Phil Asmundson, vice chairman and U.S. media and telecommunications sector leader at Deloitte LLP. “Consumers may be watching fewer television shows and movies on TV, or reading fewer physical copies of books and newspapers, but they have not stopped consuming the content. They are simply watching or reading on different media or platforms.”

One-fifth of all millenials have read their local newspaper on their smartphone within the last six months, according to the Deloitte survey. One-third of all study participants prefer to read books and magazines on a digital platform. Forty-two percent of people say that streaming is their favorite way to view movies. All in all, America is going digital, which will eventually force satellite and cable companies to find new ways to stay relevant.

The average family, according to Forbes, can expect to save about $600 annually by giving up cable, even if they choose to consume content through devices like AppleTV or through services like Netflix or HuluPlus. Three years without cable can save the average family enough money to purchase a 60-inch plasma television. The average household currently pays $100 per month for cable.

Limited local sports viewing is still an obstacle that keeps many people from cutting their cable. Major League Baseball, the NBA and the NHL offer packages that customers can buy to stream out-of-market games, and outlets like the Xbox also offer sports viewing with a subscription.

The day will come, Forbes predicts, when cable companies will be forced to unbundle their packages and to sell them for one-third of their current price. Until then, people can still ditch their cable and listen to local sports on the radio. “Think how Kardashian-free the world would be if we all just listened to the radio,” said Bruce Upbin, a reporter for Forbes. That may be reason enough to sever the cable cord.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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