Americans Cutting the Cable TV Cord at Increasing Pace - eMarketer

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Americans Cutting the Cable TV Cord at Increasing Pace

By 2018, one in five US households will not subscribe to cable or satellite TV

December 10, 2015

A growing percentage of American households are cutting the cable TV cord each year, according to eMarketer’s first forecast for the pay TV market. In 2015, there will be 4.9 million US households that once paid for TV services but no longer do, a jump of 10.9% over last year. And that growth will accelerate in the coming years, with the number of cord-cutting households jumping another 12.5% in 2016. In fact, by the end of next year, the number of US households subscribing to cable and satellite will drop below 100 million.

US Pay and Non-Pay-TV Households, by Type, 2014-2019 (millions and % change)

“This year, the number of digital video services expanded at a faster pace than ever before,” said eMarketer senior analyst Paul Verna. “In addition to standalone offerings from the likes of HBO, there are new digital bundles that include many of the channels consumers could only have received with cable and satellite subscriptions in the past. This widespread availability of digital content makes cord-cutting a viable option for a growing segment of the viewing population.”

Cable and satellite providers will steadily lose customers through 2019. The number of US households subscribing to cable TV will drop 0.4% this year, while the number of US households subscribing to satellite TV will drop 1.5%. Conversely, more American households will subscribe to TV packages provided by telecom providers such as Verizon and AT&T. That segment will jump 1.8% this year.

US Adult Pay TV Viewer and Nonviewer Share, 2014-2019 (% of adult population)

“Telecom companies have done better than cable or satellite providers in selling bundles that include high-speed internet connectivity, phone service and TV,” said Verna. “These all-in-one packages often save customers money and facilitate viewing on mobile devices.”

Also noteworthy, the share of viewers who have never subscribed to cable or satellite (“cord-nevers”) is growing as well. This year, the percentage of US adults who have never subscribed to cable or satellite TV will reach 12.9%. That share will grow to 13.8% by 2016.


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