ESPN Study Finds Cord Cutting Is a "Very Minor" Phenomenon

Says 0.28% of U.S. homes discontinued pay TV services in the last three months

NEW YORK -- Walt Disney's ESPN in a new study concludes that "cord cutting" by consumers, or pay TV service cancellations, are currently a "very minor" phenomenon, the New York Times reported Monday. The data adds some more color and insight to an ongoing industry debate, for which observers have argued more data is needed.

Amid two quarters of pay TV subscriber losses in a row, driven by cable declines, the industry has this fall heatedly debated how many consumers are abandoning costly monthly TV services to watch TV online. RELATED: The slippery slope of cord cutting.

Cord cutting has happened in 0.28% of U.S. households in the last three months, ESPN found in its study based on Nielsen's TV audience sample.

Partially offsetting those losses are 0.17% of households that had been broadcast-only, but signed up for pay TV and broadband service, the Times said.

"So the net amount of cord-cutting for one quarter was just one-tenth of 1%," Glenn Enoch, vp for integrated media research for ESPN, told the Times.

"We got a little worn out reading headline after headline saying, 'Cord-cutting, it's a disaster; young people are abandoning TV.' For our strategic purposes, we needed to know what was really going on."