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Nielsen Delays Reporting 'Broadband Only' Viewers
by Karl Bode 06:19PM Monday Mar 03 2014
Just a few years ago, Nielsen proclaimed that the idea of TV cord cutting in favor of Internet video alternatives was "purely fiction." Subsequent Nielsen reports have often quite adorably gone out of their way to downplay cord cutters to make TV executives (who want things to remain precisely as they are) happy.

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All that time Nielsen, a company tasked with tracking TV viewing habits didn't see fit to actually track Internet video viewers, making them probably the last organization one should ask regarding television's evolution.

Nielsen's tune on cord cutting has changed in recent months (though the firm calls cord cutters "Zero TV households" to avoid having to acknowledge analysis error on their part). While the firm is just starting to finally incorporate Internet TV viewing into their overall TV ratings systems, they've apparently run into some problems with broadcasters, who don't like what some of these new numbers are saying:
quote:
...the National Association of Broadcasters board at its winter meeting had asked Nielsen to delay its full rollout of hybrid TV/online viewing measurement (scheduled for later this year), until it can be "fully tested" in the marketplace. NAB is concerned that the addition of broadband-only homes was reducing the number of 'traditional' TV homes and could understate local TV viewership.
In other words, we're going to hold off on publicizing more accurate data that could include the cord cutters we've long laughed at, because the broadcast industry might not like what the data indicates.

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Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY

Karl, how are you defining "cord cutter"?

Are you counting those of us who get OTA as cord cutters or restricting your definition to people who've gone web-only? I had assumed the former, given the commentary, not to mention the coax icon on all of these stories.

If I'm not mistaken the NAB primarily represents local broadcasters, I know all of my local OTA stations are members, I see the ads once in awhile. So in this they would be looking out for their membership, which stands to lose a great deal of revenue if Nielsen screws up the ratings. Measuring OTA viewership is almost entirely dependent on the diaries that Nielsen still sends out, unless you have a TiVo, so it makes some sense that the trade association for OTA stations would be worried about getting under-counted.

Rogue Wolf
Mourns the Loss of lilhurricane

join:2003-08-12
Troy, NY

1 recommendation

It is difficult...

...to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it. The same goes for a company, apparently. But I suppose it's hard to blame them; the broadcasters no longer want actual data- they just want to be told that they don't need to worry, that the big bad Internet is in fact working for them rather than sowing the seeds of their inevitable downfall.

It's a natural thing for dinosaurs to go extinct when they cannot evolve, after all.
--
I may have been born yesterday, but I've spent all afternoon downtown.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Cord cutting a fringe phenomenon

There are a few total cheapos out there who are actually cord-cutting, but most of them aren't people you'd want to market to in the first place. There is this whole group of "cord-nevers" (sort of, since most had cable at home and in college) who don't have cable now, while they are in grad school or traveling around to get started on some sort of career track. Give them a few years, they will settle down, form households, and subscribe to cable. The whole cord cutting thing is a fringe phenomenon.

Treegravy
Premium
join:2011-04-21
canada
Reviews:
·Rogers Hi-Speed

1 recommendation

Re: Cord cutting a fringe phenomenon

said by BiggA:

fringe phenomenon.

lol. Sure, there's the market for satellite viewership since they're too rural to get decent broadband. Sure, the cable come on bundling of broadband with television subs. Sure, the need for a sitter box, be it for the very young or very old. Yeah, all that is part of the parcel traditional broadcasters are setting themselves up for. The masses who line up on the couch to watch the latest reality 'tween commercials filler will always be around.

There is a chance though that this is all the thin edge of the wedge and what's now a fringe phenomenon becomes mainstream. There is a chance that more and more consumers perceive less and less value in both the, escalating cost/decreasing content, and are deriving a better value proposition elsewhere.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: Cord cutting a fringe phenomenon

So long as sports and HBO are locked up on cable, Comcast and friends have nothing to worry about. Cord cutting just isn't practical for most people.

YukonHawk

join:2001-01-07
Patterson, NY

1 recommendation

Nielsen and the ISP executives should get out of la la land and step back into reality and I am not talking about the virtual one!!

Brian_M

join:2004-06-19
Manchester, GA
Reviews:
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·Windstream

5 recommendations

lol... um, as the head of my household at 40 I'm "settled down". Ditched pay TV 3 years ago. None of my friends have pay TV and even my in-laws (early 60's) just ditched pay TV after a lifetime of paying.

BTW, I'm just back from a 2 month skiing vacation with the family, spent a month in Germany 1 year ago March too (also with the family). Total cheapo. Or rather, have my priorities adjusted differently... there's just no sense in paying $100/month to be a couch potato.

cork1958
Cork
Premium
join:2000-02-26

2 recommendations

Re: Cord cutting a fringe phenomenon

said by Brian_M:

there's just no sense in paying $100/month to be a couch potato.

Totally right on, Brian!!

Glad to hear you can actually go outside and with the family also!

Almost have my wife persuaded to cut the cord. Hopefuly not to much longer.

These television executives are just as dumb and blind and behind the times as the RIAA and MPAA.
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BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
You're on the fringe. Very few people will get rid of pay TV. The only people who I know who don't have it are my friends who are my age (mid-20's) and are renting here or there. However, more of them are either living at home, or have other access to cable. One friend works and lives on a university-owned property, so he gets cable there, another friend has an apartment and is a grad student, but lives like 20 minutes away from his parents' house and just DVRs stuff there, another is a grad student renting, her boyfriend has FIOS TV at his house, so none of them can really be counted. One guy at work has cut the cord, he's so far off the deep end with being cheap, it's not even funny. A couple other guys are renting and living with roommates and don't have it, although one guy just got married and now has DirecTV. I have roommates, and that makes it a no-brainer for us, as we only pay like $30-$40/mo each (for both TV and internet), although I had it when living along as well. Most people at work, regardless of their living situation have cable. Cord cutting is a fringe thing that's getting way too much attention.

newview
Ex .. Ex .. Exactly
Premium
join:2001-10-01
Parsonsburg, MD
kudos:1
Reviews:
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1 recommendation

said by BiggA:

There are a few total cheapos out there who are actually cord-cutting, ...

“Great results, can be achieved with small forces.”
Sun Tzu, The Art of War

intok

join:2012-03-15
Riiight, I must be cheap or poor because I ditched TV service for bare internet...

I don't have time to vegetate to terrible programming, theres total of 8 TV shows I currently watch over the course of the year, no more the 2 have a new episode a week at the same time and 2 of them are available for free over the internet post broadcast, all are available on DVD, all but one have their seasons being picked up at the library in season box sets. The last show is pirated because I'm not paying for cable and HBO just to watch 12 hours of programming in a year.

For local info, all the local news outlets, both mainstream media and small time all have sites, for weather I have a NOAA band radio and a home made Hoverman antenna for the 24/7 state weather robot channel and milwaukee DOT robot traffic report.

Also, I couldn't give less of a fuck about sports.
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BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: Cord cutting a fringe phenomenon

You're a tiny fringe minority. That's my point. There are a very few who will cut the cord, while the vast majority won't, as long as the good content is captive on cable. A lot of people watch TV, and a LOT of people watch sports. If anything, sports and the move of high quality content to cable and premium channels is just driving people to subscribe to more stuff. Basketball finally coerced my parents into upgrading from Starter to Preferred.

The vast majority of the US watches either NCAAM basketball, NBA basketball, or the NFL, and there are regional pockets of other stuff, like here in CT, NCAAW is popular since we have the #1 team in the nation. All of those sports are partially or almost entirely captive on cable, with NCAAM requiring a higher package for most schools, now that ESPNU is showing a TON of games. Real football (i.e. soccer) is immensely popular among many immigrant communities, and a lot of those games are cable-only as well, with both MLS here in the US, as well as games from around the world televised.

As long as sports are captive to cable, all cable has to worry about is satellite, FTTH, and IPTV/U-Verse. Cord cutters aren't a worry.

intok

join:2012-03-15

Re: Cord cutting a fringe phenomenon

Sure, I'm the minority when like many others who have posted have already stated the same, our friends and family do the same. The only ones who won't cut are the ones with more money then brains and sports nuts, the old are back on their rabbit ears watching Matlock reruns on daytime TV as they don't like modern TV shows.

Just as happened with album sales is happening with TV. People only want to pay for what they are actually going to use, not something that they never use.
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BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: Cord cutting a fringe phenomenon

The vast majority of America isn't going to cord cut. Add up the cost of watching a few shows, and you may as well just have cable. Add in sports, which most Americans watch one or the other of the three big sports, and you can see why cord cutting is a fringe phenomenon. Until OTT actually replaces cable directly (which the content creators won't all), people aren't going to cut the cord. It's not like cutting the landline, where you get nearly identical functionality to a landline with a cell phone, it's a whole different animal. Streaming services killed Blockbuster, RedBox only survives because it's a low overhead, low margin operation and somehow people still rent discs for some bizarre reason, but streaming isn't going to, and can't, kill cable.

intok

join:2012-03-15

Re: Cord cutting a fringe phenomenon

Keep telling yourself that, just like how nobody wants an HDTV or a indoor plumbing.

Now go clean the Black Widows and Fiddlebacks out of the outhouse.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: Cord cutting a fringe phenomenon

WHAT? Cord cutting is not moving forward with technology. Cable and VUDU/Netflix/Amazon/Hulu/whatever aren't mutually exclusive.

intok

join:2012-03-15

Re: Cord cutting a fringe phenomenon

Sure it is. It's breaking the buisness model and the content restrictions of standard TV.

You get what you want, how you want, when you want, for a far better price.

With the cable company you are stuck taking only what they give you, only when they want you to get it and bleed you out the nose for the "privilege".

You're the guy thinking the car will never become popular, the guy saying movies in color will cause people to get ill, the guy thinking theres a worldwide market for only 25 computers total.
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BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: Cord cutting a fringe phenomenon

Much of the content isn't available except through the cable company. That's why cable is in no danger for the foreseeable future.

intok

join:2012-03-15

Re: Cord cutting a fringe phenomenon

Most content people actually want can be found as a torrent if not available via legal outposts. Course most people couldn't give 2 shits about about most daytime and home and garden programming.

In the end it's their failure to follow the market and distribute accordingly, instead of packaging dozens of unwatched channels together with the one that has content that people want at jacked up prices.
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BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: Cord cutting a fringe phenomenon

Sports. They aren't affected by anything like torrent, since they are live.

intok

join:2012-03-15

Re: Cord cutting a fringe phenomenon

Availible for free OTA with the one time purchase of a TV tuner or via monthly fee via service like Aereo.

Due to the advent of DVRs many people don't watch sports live anymore anyways because theres usually 3 hours of not much interesting happening and 10 mins of interesting content. The TVR, just like the DVR allows the viewer to watch the sporting event in their own time and fast forward past the ads and stats cruft and watch only the bits of interest.

Thiis is the way the world works now, the viewer is no longer a passive automaton.
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Treegravy
Premium
join:2011-04-21
canada
Reviews:
·Rogers Hi-Speed

Re: Cord cutting a fringe phenomenon

...and live sports, depending on what it is, is streamed these days too.
If the only compelling reason is live sports--that isn't much of an argument for all the people that don't care for them. Why are non-fans made to pay for sports too? If anything, sports are a good reason to cut the cord right there,lol.

intok

join:2012-03-15

Re: Cord cutting a fringe phenomenon

Exactly, It's bad enough we already subsidize them and they get to call themselves non profit entities even though they rake in the billions.

We're still paying for Miller park in our sales tax here in WI and the Bucks was the same treatment or they are threatening to leave.

Everyone that has cable is also getting screwed because of the sports networks.
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BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
A ton of them are streamed... if you subscribe to them on cable. So there's no getting around it unless you have someone else's login.

Treegravy
Premium
join:2011-04-21
canada
Reviews:
·Rogers Hi-Speed

Re: Cord cutting a fringe phenomenon

What are you talking about? You don't need cable to get the NHL: »gamecenter.nhl.com/nhlgc/secure/···GCL:vnty

Heck, you can watch the NHL on the CBC for free! »www.cbc.ca/player/Sports/Live+St···+Canada/

The world's a changin' an' the cable co's are buying up everything not nailed down because they see the future too: Cable broadcasting has no future!
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Re: Cord cutting a fringe phenomenon

NCAA stuff is almost completely tied up in cable. Football is partially tied up in cable. As long as the stuff people want is tied up in cable, cable isn't going anywhere (except maybe to FIOS or Google Fiber in the few places that actually have it).
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
Not most sports. It's at the point now where stuff is spread out over multiple channels, requiring the next digital package up (Digital Preferred on Comcast) just to follow some bball team. And Big10 folks need to add sports package for BTN.

Simon707

@bell.ca

"purely fiction" = ignore then laughed at

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." -Gandhi

plk
Premium
join:2002-04-20
united state

I did Nielsen survey last week for everything we watched. error

We were part of a random survey just about two weeks ago. With a book to fill in each program we watched.
However, we use 6 HD homerun tuners and watch all cable tv via the computers. I explained this set up to the caller and even called in and explained it to a supervisor.

Do not record programs watched on anything but a tv. We have a tv but only for the grand kids.

So, despite watching plenty of tv nothing was recorded in their book.
Several programs aired at the same time and were recorded.

I believe Nielsen needs to understand these TV tuners better and include those results in their TV viewing survey because the programs are not streamed over the internet but only viewed on a different system.
macdude22

join:2005-09-08
Grinnell, IA

Re: I did Nielsen survey last week for everything we watched. error

said by plk:

I believe Nielsen needs to understand these TV tuners better and include those results in their TV viewing survey because the programs are not streamed over the internet but only viewed on a different system.

I'm not sure if it's not understanding the technology or wanting to pepper the results to someone's taste. Indeed during my surveys, I've called in and explained our viewing habits and they were very clear, they only wanted us to record live broadcasts, on televisions.

Even when I still paid for dish I used a DVR from 2002-2005. I haven't watched a live broadcast sans the occasional pbs kids OTA for over a decade. My mom think's she's amish and has a DVR. Right next to her cast iron stove. They are tailoring these surveys, pure and simple. The methodology is bad. The research is bad. The data is bad.
macdude22

join:2005-09-08
Grinnell, IA

I've had 3 surveys

Since I bought my house in 2009 Nielson has sent three surveys to my house (each with a crisp 10 and 20 dollar bill). Each time I've called them and explained to them that we have no paid tv and rely on Netflix/amazon prime for 95% of our viewing needs. With the occasional dvd rental and PBS OTA.

Each time they've told me to only put down the OTA PBS as they were not tracking internet based viewing. The people I talked to always seemed interested in my viewpoint. I'm just not sure why they saw fit to keep sending me surveys after the first one given that I marked down under 5 hours of viewing on each one.

I'm happy to take their money if they are going to keep sending it, and the money was part of the reason I kept calling them. I figured 30 bucks was reasonable enough for me to put in a little effort to explain to them what our viewing habits really look like. Plus, I want them to know! If content producers are supposed to be making content based on what the market wants, I want them to know what I want to watch.

plk
Premium
join:2002-04-20
united state

Re: I've had 3 surveys

Oh man, they only sent me a new one dollar bill. The next time I will send it back
macdude22

join:2005-09-08
Grinnell, IA

Re: I've had 3 surveys

Really? I got a 20 and a 10 each time. But I got full week long survey's each time. I've talked to people who have only done phone survey's.