channelsA new study released today revealed some startling statistics for live tv providers that are trying to compete in today’s world of Netflix and Hulu. Now we know we are still a long way away from streaming services totally taking over the market controlled by cable and satellite but Neilsen’s latest data suggests that something may need to change.

The research released today shows that out of the roughly 200 channels available to most pay tv viewers, the average viewer only watches 17 of them. That equates to less than 9%.

The number of available channels skyrocketed in 2008 from 129.3 to 189.1 since 2008 the average number of channels viewed has stayed flat, inching up only a little bit from 17.3 to 17.5. But during the same period cable companies and satellite providers added more and more channels and steadily increased the cost of paid tv services.

According to industry publication, Brief, several consumers feel that the value of their pay tv bundle is declining as the providers add more and more channels that they never watch, and of course increase the price at the same time. The data from Nielsen confirms that.

One reason that people are watching so few channels is because of the OTT streaming services like Hulu and Netflix are curing boredom and preventing channel surfing. Now, paid traditional cable and satellite services are becoming a destination, maybe the news, a ball game or the opportunity to see a favorite hit program live. Once that programming is over there’s no need to channel surf as viewers did just a few short years ago. Now, viewers can use any variety of services available in set top boxed and connected TVs to fill their viewing pallet.

The cable industry met last week in Los Angeles for The Cable Show one of the major cable industry trade shows where they discussed issues like this. Cable companies have been toying with different ways to line their services up to better fit the way viewers consume tv now. Partnering with streaming services like Netflix and Hulu and possibly offering channels a la carte are some options cable companies are highly considering.