TV Cord-Cutting Is Mixed Bag

While traditional cord-cutting continues to rise, the growth of OTT platforms -- in part owned by those who also own traditional pay TV services -- is lessening overall declines.

The number of U.S. adults that have ever cancelled a pay TV service will now rise to 33 million in 2018, according to eMarketer. That is a 32.8% increase over eMarketer’s July 2017 projection of 22%.

By the end of 2022, researcher eMarketer says, more than one-fifth of the U.S. population -- or 55.1 million people -- will no longer be with a traditional pay TV provider.

At the same time, Kagan, the media research group in S&P Global Market Intelligence, says that in the second quarter of this year, “the pressure on traditional multichannel subscriptions abated in the second quarter – a positive direction,” partly due to OTT services.



Cable, satellite and telco multichannel pay TV providers lost 860,640 video subscribers in Q2, ending the quarter on June 30 at 92.2 million, including 89.4 million residential customers.

But adding in new virtual pay TV OTT services -- including DirecTV Now (owned by AT&T) and Sling TV (owned by Dish Network) -- totals around 4 million. Kagan says the growth during the period resulting from new virtual pay TV providers “reduces the quarterly subscription losses by approximately 45%, raising the residential figure to 93.5 million.”

Other research shows there is a different angle to the cord-cutting issue.

In the first quarter of this year, analyzing U.S. households -- not the individual number of total adults -- Nielsen says broadcast-only homes rose 6% to 16.5 million from 15.6 million, with broadband-only homes rising 55% to 8.8 million homes from 5.6 million.

For the 2017-2018 TV season, Nielsen says, there are 119.6 million TV homes.

1 comment about "TV Cord-Cutting Is Mixed Bag".
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  1. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC, August 20, 2018 at 12:55 p.m.

    For perspective, this is really a return to 1990's levels of Cable subscribership. Except, that was before digital satellite systems entered the game. 

    So, even after cable cutting (and reporting numbers by "people" instead of TVHHs is a pretty silly way to exaggerate cable cutting), the percentage of US adults paying for cable or satellite appears to be higher today (AFTER cable cutting) than it was in the 1990s... 

    One thing ignored in cable cutting numbers is that there have always been a large number of cable cutters - we just didn't spend hours counting them.

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