More TV Cord-Cutting To Come, Virtual Pay TV Providers Bring Little Help

Rising numbers of consumers dropping traditional pay TV  services -- cable, satellite and telco pay TV -- are set to drop total traditional pay TV subscribers below 80 million this year.

eMarketer estimates there will be a 7.5% decline in 2020 (6.6 million homes) to 77.6 million traditional pay TV subscribers. These totals are down 23% from 2014.

Traditional pay TV subscribers would then be estimated to comprise 64% of all U.S. TV homes. In four years, traditional pay TV services are projected to drop to 50% of all TV homes.

Nielsen says for TV’s 2020-2021 TV season, there will be 121 million TV households, up slightly from 120.6 million a year ago. Total TV viewers is 0.2% higher to 307.9 million.

Virtual pay TV providers are picking up the slack, according to analysts. After a period of growth, new vMVPDs -- virtual multichannel video program distributors -- such as Sling, Hulu Live with TV, AT&T Now, YouTube TV are collectively slipping.

In the first quarter, the vMVPD category lost 341,000 subscribers versus the fourth quarter 2019, according to MoffettNathanson Research, which now totals 9.6 million subscribers.

 
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