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Pulse: Consumers Are Staying Home, Not Cutting Cable

Alexandria, VA — New Pulse research shows that, even though more than seven out of 10 (71 %) U.S. households think that the economy is either in a recession or heading toward a depression, cable’s broadband and television services are well positioned to weather the storm.

Nearly all (95%) cable modem households surveyed report that they plan to retain their cable modem service. Only 2% of cable modem households report that they are somewhat or very likely to cancel their cable modem service in the next six months.

Cable TV service is showing similar strength despite the economic downturn. In fact, cable households have become more loyal to their TV service over the past three months. More than eight out of ten total cable (81%) and digital cable (81%) households report that they are not at all likely to cancel their cable TV service, compared to November 2008, when those same groups reported 71% and 77%, respectively.

Overall, lifestyles and buying habits are changing. Consumers report being likely to spend more time at home watching TV (35%) and less time doing activities outside the home. More than half of U.S. households currently report doing less shopping (53%), eating out less (52%), going on fewer vacations (51%), and attending fewer concerts and theatre performances (50%) because of economic conditions.

“These are uncertain times, and consumers are not only cutting back on out-of-home activities, they’re cocooning with family and friends in their homes. This has led to increased reliance on cable’s valuable entertainment, information and communications services,” said Char Beales, CTAM President and CEO.

These findings are in the January/February Pulse, which examines the effect of the economy on media behavior, buying habits and technology adoption. Portions of this research are based on Centris’ US Communications and Entertainment Omnibus (CEO) survey, a continuous market sampling program that supports the research needs of top communications and entertainment companies in the United States. These quarterly studies were based on surveys conducted from November 21-30, 2008 and Jan. 30-Feb. 9, 2009. The Centris November sample includes 893 randomly selected adult consumers age 18+, with a sample of 1,020 for February 2009. For both of these studies, 65% of weighted respondents are cable customers, including over one-third who have digital cable (35% for Nov. 08 and 36% for Feb. 09). In both Nov. 08 and Feb. 09 studies, 28% of respondents are satellite television customers. These studies have a +/- 3.1 to 3.3 percentage point margin of error.

Other portions of this research are based on a telephone survey conducted by Centris as part of the Centris(sm) omnibus survey conducted from January 30 – February 6, 2009. The Centris sample includes 1,034 randomly selected adult consumers age 18+ and has +/- 3.1 percentage point margin of error.