TechCrunch wrote an article today which reports 600,000 television viewers pulled-the-plug on paid subscriptions in 2009 (adding up to about 800,000 over the last two years). The article, (citing a report from Convergence Consulting Group), estimates 1.6 million people will use other methods of watching television shows and movies (including over-the-internet and over-the-air) by the end of 2011. The studies from Convergence attribute much of the decline in paid subscribers to the growth of online viewing, using websites such as Hulu and Netflix.
The increasing number of non-paying TV viewers could also be attributed to the poor economy 2009, which had many families crunching numbers to make bills. Let’s also not forget the DTV conversion in June of ’09, which illuminated many to the fact that there is actually free TV programming out there.
Of course, live sports and premium programming throw a wrench into the works. You won’t be able to watch the NBA playoffs on TNT or the new LIFE series on Discovery Channel if you drop your TV provider. (Why do you think I haven’t?) For those programs you’ll have to buy an online subscription for NBA games and wait until LIFE gets released on Blu-ray.
However, as the article from TechCrunch states, the surge of DVR usage and increasing amount of HD programming only available through paid service could be helping to keep the “cord cutting” population from growing even larger.