Cable TV “surviving online threats”, finds report

Cable television service providers in the US are managing to face up to the threat posed by online video services such as Netflix thanks to their superior content offerings, which include live sport and first-run scripted content, according to a new report from Bernstein Research.

The research arm of US global asset management firm AllianceBernstein adds in its note that many of the most popular shows are not made available online at the same time as on cable networks, providing a compelling reason for consumers not to cut the cord to their cable TV service.

“Consumers love live sports, specials and first-run scripted content,” said Carlos Kirjner, a senior analyst at Bernstein Research. “We think this goes a long way in explaining why we have not seen cord-cutting as Netflix subscribers and usage have grown and as other providers of long-form video content over the Internet have emerged.”

The analyst adds that he does not expect many subscribers to dump their cable subscriptions anytime soon, even if they’re paying separately for an online service like Netflix.

“Consumer preferences, content economics, technology and industry structure all have conspired to limit the impact of the Internet on how TV is consumed in the US, and will probably continue to do so in the foreseeable future,” he states. “This is the case in large part because pay-TV providers want to control as much as possible of the user experience.”

Netflix meanwhile seems to have recovered its poise after a terrible 2011, with many of the disgruntled customers that left after last year’s price hike fiasco deciding to return, and the company’s executive team is showing renewed confidence for the year ahead – more details here.

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