Black subscribers have long been some of pay TV’s best customers. Among the highest spenders on home TV, Internet, and phone services, Black households are the most likely to subscribe to digital add-ons like DVR, HD, and premium channels. But recently-released data from Horowitz’s 2014 FOCUS African America study indicate that Blacks, along with other multicultural audiences, are more likely than their White counterparts to consider cutting the cable cord.
According to the study, Black audiences are some of the most passionate viewers of television content, with 40% of Black respondents saying they are “really into TV” compared to 33% of total urban respondents. Consistent with previous years, Blacks also spend the most time watching TV content, with 39% reporting watching six or more hours per day.
“To date, cord-cutting has not had as big an impact on the pay TV business as many feared,” notes Adriana Waterston, Horowitz’s SVP, Marketing and Business Development, “but technology is a bigger disruptor among multicultural audiences, who tend to be early—and enthusiastic—adopters.”
Blacks continue to be at the leading edge of new viewing technologies, with 36% of Black viewers saying new technologies are enabling them to watch more TV than ever before. Furthermore, Black viewers report spending 23% of their TV viewing time streaming content. In contrast, White viewers report spending 18% of their TV time streaming. View chart.
Black multichannel subscribers are twice as likely as Whites to report being likely to cancel their TV service in the next six months (20% vs. 10%). Findings suggest that a greater reliance on new video technologies, rather than a lack of interest in TV, may be a contributing factor. While Blacks who are likely to cord-cut report being “really into TV” at the same rate as total Blacks, these potential cord-cutters spend a higher percentage of their viewing time on alternative platforms (28%). View chart.
“The variety of consumer choices today is a game-changer,” asserts Waterston. “As online on-demand viewing becomes increasingly normalized and expected, MVPDs will need to focus on proving the value proposition of pay TV to retain their most valuable, tech-forward customers.”
FOCUS African America is conducted among urban heads of household who are TV viewers. The 2014 edition is now available. For more information, visit http://www.horowitzassociates.