According to separate U.S. Census Bureau data, median household income fell
from a peak of $50,303 in 2008 to $49,445 in 2010 (not adjusted for inflation). This bucks the general trend of previous economic recessions and recoveries. Per the U.S. Census, median household incomes increased steadily year over year through previous recessions
, including 1980-1982, 1990-1991, and 2001-2002 (again, not adjusted for inflation).
While grim, the Sentier findings confirm that the economic downturn has been broader, deeper and longer-lasting than previously believed, with Sentier co-author Gordon W. Green Jr. calling it “a significant reduction in the American standard of living.” The lingering effects of the recession and “decovery” are easy to spot in weak consumer confidence and changing consumer spending patterns, many of which overlap with their media consumption behaviors.
One example is the trend of “cord-cutting,” as overtaxed consumers consider ditching pay TV subscriptions to save money. While the trend has been small and inconsistent, it appears to be growing. After increasing 2% in 2008, the overall number of U.S. households subscribing to cable began dropping in the second quarter of 2010, according to SNL Kagan, which said 216,000 households dropped their subscriptions, followed by another 119,000 in the third quarter.
The numbers turned around in the fourth quarter, when the industry added around 250,000 new subscribers, followed by another 475,000 in the first quarter of 2011 -- but losses resumed in the second quarter of 2011 with 193,000 subscribers ditching pay TV services, according to figures compiled by Broadcast Engineering and GigaOM.
A recent survey by OMD found that 7% of respondents said they’ve already cut their pay TV subscriptions (including cable and satellite) while another 17% said they'd be willing to do so.