Advanced Television

Nielsen: Cable cord cutting is real

June 10, 2011

Nielsen Media Research says a record number of American TV households are switching from cable to receiving video programming via an alternate delivery system (ADS), mostly via direct broadcast satellite, according to a TVB analysis of data for May 2011, while cable penetration has declined to a 21-year low.

According to Nielsen NTI data, national ADS penetration hit 30.9 per cent last month, an all-time high that is up from 30.3 per cent in May 2010. Wired-cable penetration, on the other hand, declined to 60.6 per cent in May 2011 from 61.1 per cent in May 2010—the last time wired-cable penetration had been any lower was in November 1989. “It would appear that the cut-the-cord phenomenon is real, and that has implications for the advertising community. Advertisers who buy cable locally need to know that local wired cable systems’ ability to deliver commercials continues to erode,” said Steve Lanzano, TVB president.

“In fact, in quite a few markets, a majority of those paying for video programming are now getting that programming via ADS rather than from a wired-cable system,” Lanzano continued. “Local cable commercials are not seen in ADS homes, and so local advertisers need to deduct the ADS percentage of the audience if they are included in the cable systems’ submissions.”

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