6.6 households have canceled their pay-TV subscriptions, with an additional 31.2 planning to cancel this year. Less than half of US households will subscribe to a pay-TV service by 2024.
Reseach conducted and released by Emarketer reflects historic lows for pay-TV amid the increasing cord-cutting trend. “While TV ad spending will rebound in 2021 with the broader economy, it will never return to pre-pandemic levels,” said Emarketer Forecasting Analyst at Insider Intelligence Eric Haggstrom. "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.”
According to the researcher, cable-, satellite- and telco-based traditional pay-TV providers are set to lose the most subscribers ever. The research calculates that by the end of the year, 31.2 million US households will have cut the cable TV cord in aggregate and 6.6 million households will have canceled their pay-TV subscriptions. By 2024, more than a third of US households will likely have cut the pay-TV cord.
The remaining 77.6 million US households with cable, satellite, or telecom TV packages constitute a 7.5% year-over-year decline, the largest ever of its kind. By the end of 2024, fewer than half of US households will subscribe to a pay-TV service. The study also found that viewership declines will inevitably affect traditional TV ad spending, forecasting that total spending will drop 15.0% in 2020 to USD 60.00 billion, the lowest the industry has seen since 2011. Furthermore, the study predicts that TV ad spending will remain below pre-pandemic levels through at least 2024. “Consumers are choosing to cut the cord because of high prices, especially compared with streaming alternatives,” Haggstrom said.
The loss of live sports in H1 2020 contributed to further declines. Amid the decreases, cable providers are prioritizing their internet services, which are more profitable and have benefited from the consumer shift to streaming video. “While sports have returned, people will not return to their old cable or satellite plans,” Haggstrom said.
While TV ad spending will rebound in 2021 with the broader economy, it will never return to pre-pandemic levels. 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.” Eric Haggstrom Forecasting Analyst, Insider Intelligence, Emarketer,