Advanced Television

Just 4% of rural Americans exclusively OTT subs

March 29, 2017

Numerous reports have been written on the national trend of “cord cutting” in the US, or homes eliminating their cable or satellite service and accessing their television content over the Internet and from antennae. For the second year in a row, 82 per cent of North American rural video consumers surveyed are still subscribing to a traditional video service provider. The number of rural homes that are getting all of their video over the Internet is a modest 4 per cent.

The national news stories of mass cord cutting is heavily biased by the fact that 80 per cent of Americans live in urban and suburban areas (US Census Bureau). Rural demographics are much different with an older average age, fewer children in the home, and less access to broadcast channels by antennae.

Innovative Systems, a software and technology company based in Mitchell, SD, has commissioned a survey of rural homes to determine the status of subscription video and to quantify the impact of streaming video specifically in the rural marketplace for two consecutive years.

This survey of approximately 400 homes was conducted by Cronin Communications, a national telecom research firm.

Highlights of the research:

  • Although the overall subscription rate remained the same at 82 per cent, the number of homes that have cut the video cord increased from 1 per cent to 4 per cent in 2017. There was also a 3 per cent increase in homes adding television service.
  • Independent telecommunications companies gained 8 per cent of the video market share compared to 2016, while the satellite providers lost a combined 11 per cent.
  • Video streaming increased to 34 per cent of homes (from 23 per cent in 2016), and the average number of hours per week increased to 9.73 (from 7.59 in 2016).
  • The interest in a free on‐demand service for catch‐up viewing is strong. Twenty‐per cent (20 per cent) of customers would like to have it.
  • Sixteen per cent (16 per cent) of video subscribers would move to a cloud‐based DVR service if it were available to them.


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