Deloitte just released its sixth annual State of the Media Democracy survey, which (among other things) asks U.S. respondents how they get access to their content in a world full of new and exciting devices. While operators and networks say they have seen little evidence of cord cutting, Deloitte’s report paints a different picture: Nine percent of respondents have already canceled their cable subscriptions, with another 11 percent saying they are considering doing so.
Not surprisingly, the number of viewers that are considering canceling skews higher the younger the respondents are: Nineteen percent of “leading Millennials” — those aged 23 to 28 — said they were considering canceling cable, with 13 percent of Gen Xers saying they were thinking about doing so. Of baby boomers, only 7 percent said they would consider cutting the cord, and older respondents were even less likely to do so, at just 5 percent.
The findings come as a greater number of viewers are catching on to free and subscription-based video services available online and streaming to their TVs and other devices. Twenty-two percent of respondents said they had watched their favorite TV show on a free online video source, and 21 percent said they had viewed that show on its own video site. The good news for networks is that those views are increasingly coming from legitimate sources: That compares to 15 percent who watched on a video sharing site or 4 percent who watched on a peer-to-peer network.
Viewers are also becoming more comfortable with watching TV shows on other devices: Nine percent watched shows on a gaming console, compared to 6 percent a year earlier. Smartphone viewing — up to 6 percent from 5 percent — and tablet viewing — 3 percent vs. 2 percent — also increased.
With movies, viewers are even more connected, according to the survey. Deloitte reports that 42 percent of users had streamed a movie in 2011, which was up from 32 percent a year earlier. Twenty-five percent did so as part of a paid subscription like Netflix or Amazon Prime Instant Videos. That’s significantly higher than those who streamed as part of a onetime purchase, which 9 percent of viewers did.
While Deloitte makes the point that greater accessibility ultimately means more people accessing more content, it also means more people are realizing there are more choices for content outside the traditional cable model. As that happens, we expect even more to consider cutting the cord and finding their content elsewhere.