Study: U.S. Internet-only TV homes surge 22.8%

Numbers of U.S. households that subscribe to broadband Internet access only and bypass cable or satellite TV has increased significantly in 2011, and they spend dramatically more time watching TV online, according to a new Nielsen study.

It is too early to determine if these households are so-called “cord-swappers”, those who swap the cable/satellite TV cord for the broadband Internet cord, said Nielsen, but they are in a rise faster than any other segment of the “cross-platform” television marketplace Media Post reported.

Although Internet-only TV penetration is still relatively small at less than 5 percent, the number boosted 22.8 percent over the past year, according to the Nielsen study.

These Internet-only TV households are streaming TV online more than twice than the general population – with an average of 11.2 minutes daily versus 5 minutes among all TV households, and these households watch TV for about half time less than the general population. They, however, are watching more than 9 percent of all their TV minutes online. The average TV household, according to Nielsen, is currently watching about 1.9 percent of their total TV minutes online.

“The increase in broadcast-only/broadband homes is the most significant of any category, though it is not necessarily an indication of downgrading services. Rather, this could reflect broadcast-only homes upgrading to broadband as their needs change. Further underscoring the importance placed on broadband Internet, the number of homes subscribing to cable-plus and no broadband decreased 17.1 percent since last year,” the latest Nielsen Cross-Platform Report stated.

Image: Nielsen

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