Cord-cutting - Statistics & Facts

Cord-cutting refers to the cancellation of multichannel cable and other pay television subscription services by television viewers. This can be seen as being partly in response to competition from free, or significantly cheaper, over-the-top (OTT) media outlets such as Hulu, Amazon Video, Netflix, Sling TV, and YouTube. As of the first quarter of 2017, the number of non-pay TV households in the United States reached an estimated 21.3 million, and the number of cord-cutters is projected to grow to over 19 million by 2019.

In a 2017 survey, 18.9 percent of respondents stated that they had cancelled their cable or satellite service within the last 12 months and in a second survey, 7.3 percent of the respondents said that they planned on cutting cable/satellite service altogether. A related group of consumers, referred to as “cord-nevers”, rely solely on internet sources and have never had a traditional TV subscription. A survey taken among North American TV consumers found 39.7 percent of respondents stated that their use of internet streaming services was the main factor that influenced their decision to cut off cable or satellite services. In that year, the increased price of cable TV subscriptions was the most common reason for considering cutting a cable TV subscription among cable subscribers in the United States. Unsurprisingly, cord cutters tend to come from the younger age brackets, as consumers increasingly move online in the search for entertainment.

In regards to the number of non-pay TV viewers in the United States, the number of cord-cutters and cord-nevers are both expected to grow to over 40 million by 2021. By 2021, it is estimated that the number of households not paying for TV services in North America will grow to around 33.3 million and, in 2017, DISH TV and DIRECTV both incurred the largest amount of net subscriber losses among selected pay TV providers in the United States—each losing 995 and 554 thousand American subscribers respectively.

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