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Research: With no pay-TV, cord-cutters watch more OTT

There have been many studies about pay-TV cord-cutters, but a lot of analysis relies on self-reported survey data that can’t fully measure important details about viewing behaviour. comScore has now analysed the OTT viewing habits of households in its “Total Home” behavioural measurement panel – those which previously subscribed to cable or satellite, but no longer do so. This behavioural data provides a detailed look at how cord-cutters’ viewing patterns differ from other audiences.

The data from this first-of-its-kind study was based on measuring March 2017 behavioural OTT viewing data for the approximately 870 cord-cutting homes in a 12,500+ household panel. This data was then weighted and projected to the represent the proportion of Wi-Fi homes in the US who have cut the cord. comScore also analysed data from more than 4,700 homes who watch OTT content and also subscribe to pay-TV.

While the average OTT viewing home in the US spends 49 hours a month viewing OTT content, cord-cutter homes consume 79 hours of OTT content a month (2.5 hours per day) – about 60 per cent more than the average. That may sound like a lot but it pales in comparison to traditional TV viewing; the average US household watched 225 hours of linear TV content in March. In other words, these cord-cutting households seem to have less of an overall appetite for television content, which may explain their decision to cut the cord.

Without pay-TV competing for their attention, cord-cutters do tend to watch quite a bit more OTT content. They spend 41 per cent more time on Netflix, 47 per cent more time on YouTube, 45 per cent more time on Amazon Video, and 13 per cent more time on Hulu compared to the average OTT viewer.

Cord-cutters are more likely to use a streaming box or stick to power their OTT viewing habits. These devices are present in 71 per cent of cord cutting homes vs. 59 per cent of all OTT viewing Wi-Fi homes. Interestingly, cord-cutters are slightly less likely to use game consoles (43 per cent penetration) and connected TVs (42 per cent penetration) than the average Wi-Fi home. This seems to suggest that these consumers actively seek out and use a “streaming first” device when electing to cut the cord.

Cord-cutters are more likely to have annual incomes of $75k or less, and the lower the income, the more likely to be a cord-cutter. Homes with annual incomes of $60k to $75k are 8 per cent more likely to be cord-cutters compared to the average OTT viewing Wi-Fi enabled home. Homes with income between $40k and $60k, are 14 per cent more likely, while those homes with less than $40k annual income are 20 per cent more likely. The homes least likely to cut the cord are homes with incomes between $75k and $150k.

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