Cord cutting just a part of American cost cutting, survey says

A Harris Poll survey has concluded that Americans are pinching pennies across the board and that the cable industry is caught in the crossfire. The poll, conducted among 3,084 adults found "three in five U.S. adults (62 percent) have purchased more generic brands and over two in five (45 percent) are brown bagging lunch instead of purchasing it."

Of interest to the cable industry, the survey showed an increasing trend among Americans to cancel or cut back cable television, with 22 percent--about the same number that stopped purchasing coffee in the morning--taking that action in October. Perhaps those cord cutters are not going to Internet services but have returned to the archaic pastime of reading. The survey shows a sliding trend with less people (still 27 percent) cancelling one or more magazine subscriptions. That compares with 34 percent who snipped the pages last October.

It's not as if the MSOs themselves are unaware of the problem. Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC-WI) is actively taking steps to develop smaller and less expensive cable packages because, as CEO Glenn Britt said during a third quarter earnings conference call, "we've heard loud and clear that customers would like more flexibility in video packaging, particularly in availability of smaller packages. You can expect us to introduce a video offering that is targeted at the more value and budget-oriented segments in the near future."

Other notables on the list: 17 percent have cancelled or considered cancelling cell phone service, as have the same number with landline service; 17 percent cancelled or considered cancelling a newspaper subscription; and in a sign that times are really tough, 14 percent either started or considered starting to carpool or use mass transit.

For more:
- see this news release

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