Analysts at Bernstein Research said Friday that cable television providers are generally escaping unscathed, even though Internet sites have added services and viewers.
One big reason for the continued robust cable subscriber lists: Many programs, including live sports, are not available online, and even the shows that are online can't easily be streamed to a television.
"Consumers love live sports, specials and first-run scripted content," Carlos Kirjner, a senior analyst for New York-based Bernstein, wrote in a research note. "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 two major sports in the United States have gone down very different roads. The National Football League does not offer most of its games online. Major League Baseball, however, sells subscriptions that permits fans to watch games on various devices. But MLB blacks out local broadcasts from those online subscriptions. So, for example, New York Yankees fans in greater New York would still need a cable or satellite tv subscription to watch their favorite team.
Kirjner wrote 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, which has 23 million subscribers.
"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 wrote. "This is the case in large part because pay-TV providers want to control as much as possible of the user experience."
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