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Cutting the cord may sound ‘cool,’ but ‘very few’ are likely to snip, survey says

Sure, it’s fun to sit around and fantasize cutting the cable TV cord in favor of getting all your favorite shows over the Internet or on DVD. But when push comes to shove, only a tiny handful of us will actually do it — or so says a recent survey.

A study of about 1,200 “multichannel” TV viewers, conducted by BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield, found that about 37 percent had at least “considered” the possibility of swapping out cable TV for Net-streamed shows and TV on DVD, Crain’s New York Business reports.

When it came to video streaming, most had sampled the goods — 69 percent having tried Hulu and 54 percent buying or renting a show from iTunes or Amazon On Demand, says Home Media Magazine (which also thumbed through BTIG’s report).

But when respondents were given a reality check, the 37 percent in the BTIG survey who’d expressed enthusiasm about cutting the cord began to have second thoughts.

In fact, after being told they might miss out on live sports, reality shows (and specifically live “results” episodes) and access to “premium” programming like, say, “Boardwalk Empire” on HBO (which isn’t available on either iTunes or Amazon, much less Hulu or Netflix), the number of viewers who said they still might cut the cable tumbled to just 8 percent, according to Crain’s.

And of those 8 percent, how many would actually take the plunge and toss their cable boxes? Probably only a little more than half, or about 5 percent of the total, estimates BTIG’s Greenfield, who concludes that though many think it would be “cool” to cut cable, he “suspects” (as Crain’s notes) that “very few will actually follow through.”

That’s only according to one survey, of course, but the figures don’t conflict with those from a survey back in April, which found that only about 800,000 U.S. TV households — or less than 1 percent of 100 coast-to-coast cable TV subscribers — have cut the cord.

Speaking purely for myself, the BTIG survey certainly has the ring of truth. Who knows how many times I’ve sat around, raging at my $130-plus cable bill, ominously threatening that I’m this close to chucking my Time Warner Cable box out the window … only to keep paying once I consider the possibility of losing ESPN, Monday Night Football and live “American Idol” (well, maybe not now that Simon’s gone).

Besides, where would I get my broadband? Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-verse aren’t options in my neighborhood, and DSL is painfully slow on my block.

That said, I don’t think the big cable and satellite TV providers should take too much solace from the survey. Even if it’s true that few of us are actually cutting the cord in the near future, I get the feeling that millions of viewers are eyeing their scissors. I know I am.

I’m curious: I know that many of you have said before that you’d love to cut cable, but how many of you are actually ready to go through with it?

• Crain’s New York Business: Study: Couch potatoes still covet their cable TV• Home Media Magazine: Poll: Netflix Subs Still Opt for Disc Rentals

— Ben Patterson is a technology writer for Yahoo! News.

Follow me on Twitter!

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One Response to "Cutting the cord may sound ‘cool,’ but ‘very few’ are likely to snip, survey says"

  1. I also have always been saying some thing comparable to just about anyone who’ll listen.

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