Where have all the subs gone? Online broadcast picks up steam

Pay TV service providers (an all-encompassing term for cable, telco and satellite) might find their quarter million or so missing subscribers sitting in front of their PCs, laptops, smartphones and Internet-capable TVs watching broadcast TV online, according to a survey by Altman Vilandrie & Company and Peanut Labs. Or then again, maybe they won't. That's the fun of playing with surveys.

The report said that the number of people watching online broadcast TV doubled in the last year. Not surprisingly, the surge was led by 18-34-year-olds who are both tech-savvy and cash-poor. Sixteen percent of that group said they watch online TV and, while only 3 percent have cancelled cable TV service (if they had it) 25 percent have "seriously considered" doing so. On the other hand, what's becoming a staple of the video entertainment business, such as it is, only 6 percent of those over 35 partook of online video.

And, just to confuse things and prove any survey can prove any point (but statistics don't lie, see above item to learn how subs are drifting away from service providers), a survey conducted by the New York Times and CBS News concluded that "Americans seem to be more comfortable with their traditional way of watching TV" and only 15 percent even thought about replacing cable with Web video.

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