The Old TV Paradigm is Sinking Even Faster Than We Thought

It’s all Nielsen’s fault. Yeppers. Cuz everything bad in the realm of TV is Nielsen’s fault. Yeppers.


by Karl Bode

For years, we’ve noted how popular TV ratings firm Nielsen has turned a bit of a blind eye to cord cutting and the Internet video revolution, on one hand declaring that the idea of cord cutting was “pure fiction,” while on the other hand admitting it wasn’t actually bothering to track TV viewing on mobile devices. It’s not surprising; Nielsen’s bread and butter is paid for by traditional cable executives, and really — who wants to take the time to pull all those collective heads of out of the sand to inform them that their precious pay TV cash cow is dying?

Now that Nielsen has decided to join us in 2015 and start tracking streaming service and mobile device viewing, the numbers, shockingly, aren’t looking all that hot. Nielsen’s latest analysis shows a number of things, most notably a decline in pay TV subscribers but a sharp uptick in users who are only subscribing to broadband:

“According to Nielsen’s second-quarter Total Audience report, the number of homes with pay-TV subscriptions—a crucial number for the industry—is down 1.2% to 100.4 million from 101.6 million a year ago. The number of broadband only homes rose 52% to 3.3 million from 2.2 million…Meanwhile, the share of homes with subscription video on demand rose 18% to 45% in the second quarter of 2015 from 38% in the second quarter a year ago. The number of homes with enabled smart TVs rose to 18% from 11%.”

So, yeah. Traditional TV is slowly and surely dying. While Nielsen helped prop up the industry belief that cord cutting was over-hyped, other tracking firms were busy pointing out that not only were cable TV providers slowly hemorrhaging subscribers each quarter, but the number of new pay TV subscriptions weren’t scaling in line with new home ownership growth like they used to.

And that’s before you even get to traditional broadcast numbers….

Read it all at Tech Dirt