Rural Americans Streaming Video and Maintaining Subscription Service

  • Innovative Systems
MITCHELL, SD — Much has been reported on the national trend of “cord cutting,” or homes eliminating their cable or satellite service and accessing all of their television content over the Internet. According to Nielsen, approximately 8 percent of homes have cancelled subscription video in favor of over-the-top options. This national statistic is heavily biased by the 80 percent of Americans who live in urban and suburban areas (U.S. Census Bureau). Rural demographics are much different with an older average age, fewer children in the home and less access to broadcast channels that can be picked up by antennae.

Innovative Systems, a software and technology company commissioned a survey of rural homes to determine the status of subscription video and to quantify the impact of streaming specifically in these markets. The study also examined Internet access, as it directly affects the ability to stream and the likelihood of cutting the video cord.

This exclusively rural survey conducted by the national telecom research firm Cronin Communications, found that subscription video is not declining in rural markets at the same rate as in urban and suburban areas and not for all of the same reasons. Only 1 percent of rural homes rely exclusively on over-the-top content. Some 400 phone surveys of customers served primarily by rural independent communications companies revealed results somewhat contrary to other surveys that are more urban focused.

Research Highlights

  • Subscription video in rural America now stands at 82 percent of homes. Thirteen-percent of homes are antennae-only, 1 percent are OTT only and 4 percent have no television.

  • For those who maintain subscription video, they spend an average of $90.64 per month; have had their accounts for 11.83 years; and have 2.63 working televisions.

  • Twenty-three percent (23 percent) of rural homes stream video from the Internet an average of 7.59 hours per week.

  • Seventy-five percent (75 percent) of rural homes have Internet service.

  • The average home spends $51.78 per month on Internet access (not including cellular).


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