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TheStreet Open House

As Streaming Rises, More Americans Cut Cable

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- With Netflix (NFLX) and a host of other streaming options available for home entertainment, more consumers than ever are considering "cutting the cord" on their cable subscription.

A survey from Deloitte shows just how much this trend has begun to take hold among the American public. The company's latest State of the Media Democracy survey asked nearly 2,000 consumers from every age group about their media consumption habits, and included in the survey were several questions pertaining to Internet streaming. Most notably, 9% of surveyed consumers said they had recently canceled their paid cable service in favor of an Internet streaming service, and another 11% were considering cutting cable for the same reason. Young people in particular are leading the way in this trend, with 19% of the 23-28 age group giving serious thought to cutting the cord.

A survey puts hard numbers on the growing trend of "cord cutting" by watching, for instance, streaming video from Netflix instead of cable TV.

Sure, that still means that four out of five Americans are happy paying for cable in the foreseeable future, and there's no telling how many of that 11% are actually serious about kicking their cable box to the curb. Still, cable companies have plenty to worry about when it comes to the threat of Internet streaming.

>>Broken Heart, Broken Budget

While this was the first time the survey has asked about cord cutting, it's been asking about streaming services such as Netflix for years now, and the data show that the use of such services to get TV shows and movies is decidedly on the rise. In 2009, just 4% of respondents identified paid streaming services as their favorite way to watch a movie. But as of 2011, that number had risen all the way to 14%, and among young people aged 14-28 that number is closer to 20%. Meanwhile, the popularity of DVDs and cable TV for consuming such media has fallen steadily: In 2008, 93% of respondents said that their home TV system (including cable, pay-per-view and DVDs) was their favorite way to watch movies, but by 2011 that number had fallen all the way to 69%.

As Netflix is joined by streaming media competitors including Blockbuster, Hulu Plus and Amazon (AMZN) Prime, consumers are only going to have more choices for finding their favorite shows and movies. And that could be bad news for the big cable companies.

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