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An Easy Definition Of Cord Cutting

Every week it seems like there’s a new article or study out about “cord cutting” that relies on an incorrect use of the term. So to set things straight for future Googlers, here’s an easy definition.

Cord Cutting is: giving up any and all pay services that provide access to linear (e.g. live) ad-supported broadcast and cable TV. So someone who has cancelled their Comcast TV service, subscribes to Netflix and Amazon and uses an antenna to get their local broadcast stations is an actual “cord-cutter.”

Cord Cutting is not: switching from a pay service that delivers linear (e.g. live) ad-supported broadcast and cable TV via a cable or satellite connection to a similar service that delivers linear ad-supported broadcast and cable TV via a broadband connection. Even if the cost of that new broadband service is less than what the consumer had previously been paying and even if that new broadband bundle is smaller. That is cord-shifting which is its own phenomenon, and has implications for the TV industry, but it is not cord-cutting, since the consumer is still paying for linear pay TV, they’re just getting it delivered via a different pipe.

Hopefully that clarifies things and will serve to prevent future misunderstandings.