It’s not so much that consumers are cutting the cord on their pay-TV service, as we’ve been saying. It’s more that many young people are not connecting in the first place.
Evidence of that possibility came to light this week when a Nielsen survey showed for the first time in 20 years the number of US homes with TV sets declined. Many of the young are getting their video entertainment from a PC connected to the Net.
Nielsen said TV set ownership has declined from 98.9% of households to 96.7%.
Nielsen said the decline was due to:
– Poverty: Many of the TV-less people have incomes below $20,000, live in rural areas and do not have an Internet connection. The last decline in TV set ownership occurred in 1992 following a prolonged recession. Nielson said the current trend will have major implications for the networks, studios and distributors that depend on the current television distribution network.
– Technology: Many of the young did not use a TV set while in college, instead using laptops to watch what’s on the Net. They are not buying a TV as they start up the economic ladder.
Nielsen said it’s discussing with its clients the possibility of a new definition for “television household” that will include Internet video viewers.
The Nielsen report says, “While Nielsen data demonstrates that consumers are viewing more video content across all platforms — rather than replacing one medium with another — a small subset of younger, urban consumers seem to be going without paid TV subscriptions for the time being. The long-term effects of this are still unclear, as it is undetermined if this is also an economic issue that will see these individuals entering the TV marketplace once they have the means, or the beginning of a larger shift to online viewing.”