23 SEP 2020

CORD-CUTTING IN THE USA IS HIGHER THAN EVER

There are 77.6 million US households with cable, satellite, or telecom TV packages, reflecting a 7.5% year-over-year decline. The traditional pay-TV industry is projected to lose 31.2 million subscribers this year.

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According to a recent eMarketer study, the traditional pay-TV industry has suffered a record-breaking loss of subscribers despite massive viewership increases during the Covid-19 period. “Consumers are choosing to cut the cord because of high prices, especially compared with streaming alternatives,” said eMarketer Forecasting Analyst at Insider Intelligence Eric Haggstrom. 

By the end of this year, it is projected that cable, satellite, and telecom TV providers will lose 31.2 million US household subscribers. Just over 6 million households will cancel their pay-TV subscriptions. By 2024, more than one-third of US households will have cut the pay-TV cord. There are currently 77.6 million US households with cable, satellite, or telecom TV packages, a 7.5% year-over-year decline, the largest one yet. The figure is  22.8% less than pay TV’s peak in 2014. By the end of 2024, fewer than half of US households will subscribe to a pay-TV service. 

US Cord-Cutter Households, 2019-2024 (millions, % change and % of households)

 

The loss of viewers is coupled with a major hit to traditional TV ad spending. Total spending will drop 15.0% this year to $60.00 billion, the lowest the industry has seen since 2011.  And while it will rebound some next year, TV ad spending will remain below pre-pandemic levels through at least 2024. “While TV ad spending will rebound in 2021 with the broader economy, it will never return to pre-pandemic levels,” Haggstrom said. “Given trends in cord-cutting, audience erosion, and growth in streaming video, more ad dollars will shift from TV to digital video in the future.”

Haggstrom highlighted that the loss of live sporting events contributed to the decline in H1 2020. Despite their returns, the losses it caused isn’t completely reversible. He also states that cable providers have been focusing on their internet services, which have proved to be more profitable and correlates with consumers’ shift to video streaming consumption.

 

Consumers are choosing to cut the cord because of high prices, especially compared with streaming alternatives.” Eric Haggstrom eMarketer Forecasting Analyst, Insider Intelligence

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