Last Updated: June 7, 2021
Will the era of traditional TV come to an end in the near future?
This is one of the questions many people would like to know the answer to, as over-the-top markets are booming right now. With that in mind, we decided to explore the most essential cord-cutting statistics and try to answer this burning question.
Before we actually dive into the topic’s most interesting details, we’d like to take a glance at the three main types of viewers: cord-cutters, cord-trimmers, and cord-nevers.
Cord-cutters are viewers who decided to cancel or “cut the cord” on their cable or satellite subscriptions in favor of less expensive or free video platforms.
Next, we have cord-trimmers who’ve cut their TV subscription expenses by trimming their TV packages and opting for skinnier TV bundles.
Lastly, we have cord-nevers. This type of viewer has never paid for cable or satellite subscriptions.
Latest Cord Cutting Statistics
- Nearly 30% of US consumers plan to cut the cord in 2021.
- Nearly all Americans aged 25-34 access TV content through the internet;
- 90% of young people prefer this method
- Among the younger segment of viewers, those aged 18-24, the percentage is similar: 87% opt for internet access.
- The biggest cable TV provider Comcast has 22.1. million subscribers.
- Netflix had 209.67 million by the first quarter of 2021.
- Pay-TV lost over 5 million subscribers in 2020.
Now, that we went through the basics, let’s jump to some of the most interesting cord-cutting facts.
Impressive Cord-Cutting Statistics for 2021
Cable cord cutting statistics in 2021 show that cable and satellite subscriptions are plummeting. Major cable providers like AT&T are losing customers at an alarming rate, as streaming services like Hulu and Disney Plus seem to be taking over.
Let’s discuss this phenomenon.
1. With over 3 million subscribers, Hulu with Live TV is the most common cable TV replacement
Many people using traditional paid TV providers are now turning to live streaming TV services as a replacement. The biggest threat to traditional services according to cord-cutting statistics by market is Hulu, which has over 3 million subscribers. It is the most popular live internet TV service.
2. AT&T lost a striking 1.16 million customers.
Cable TV subscriber trends tell us that in Q4 of last year, AT&T lost 1.16 million TV accounts in that period. However, it’s not just AT&T that should be worried. Comcast and Charter also have some worrying figures, with losses of -149,000 and -101,000 respectively.
3. Contrastingly, Disney Plus gained 54.5 million customers less than 6 months after launching.
Despite widespread pay-TV cord-cutting, large media companies like Disney Plus have launched streaming services that have proven to be hugely popular. In fact, Disney Plus managed to gain 54.4 million customers less than 6 months from launching. This perhaps goes to show why cord-cutting in 2021 is so rife.
4. The number of paid US TV subscriptions has dropped by 2.7 million in the last few years.
(Source: FAST COMPANY)
This cable TV decline has become more visible when all major cable companies, media giants, and satellite providers published their fourth-quarter earnings. It’s clear that internet TV is winning.
5. Globally, paid TV services have lost 2.09 million subscribers in the previous quarter.
(Source: Digital TV)
As mentioned, AT&T lost most customers. But cord-cutting stats in 2020 show that other companies like DirecTV and U-Verse, have lost 1.16 million customers in the same quarter. Around the world, paid TV losses equal 0.46% of the overall subscriber total.
6. By Q1 of 2021, Netflix had close to 210 million subscribers.
(Source: Finances Online)
The company had 110 million subscribers by Q4 of 2017. By 2020, that number increased by 93.03 million. By Q1 of 2021, the streaming service had about 6 million new signups.
General Cord-Cutting Stats
Now that you know the latest data, let’s dive deeper.
7. In 2021, only 56% of Americans watch satellite or cable TV.
(Source: Pew Research)
The percentage of people that watch cable TV in the United States has significantly dropped – by 20%. Even more revealing cord-cutting statistics for 2021 show that over 60% of those that don’t use the services were subscribers at some point.
Still, a study from Gfk MRI proves that, regardless of the cord-cutting trend, those who are subscribed to cable or satellite TV have no intention of canceling their subscription. Based on the data from the research, 71% of consumers who have a TV cord don’t plan to cut it.
Now, let’s take a closer look at pay-TV providers.
8. Comcast, the biggest cable provider, has 22.1 million subscribers.
A chart from Statista displays four major cable providers with Comcast leading the pack with the highest number of subscribers at 22.1 million. With Comcast alone enjoying 22.1 million subscribers, then how many cable subscribers are there in the US?
Let’s take a look at other cable providers.
Another major cable TV supplier is Charter with 16.7 million subscribers. Cox has approximately 4.1 million paying users, while Altice’s share counts 3.4 million subscribers. Taking into account only these four major cable TV providers, there are 46.3 million cable subscribers in the US.
We should also add satellite TV providers to the equation. DirecTV has a large share of the pie, with 20 million viewers, while DISH comes in second with 10.7 million subscribers. Lastly, the latest cord-cutting stats show that IPTV providers, Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-verse, recorded 4.6 million and 3.7 million users, respectively.
At this point, legacy pay-TV providers together have 85.3 million subscribers.
Apart from these TV services, we also have internet-delivered TV services. DirecTV Now and Sling TV are the largest multichannel players in this sector. Last year, DirecTV Now had 1.8 million subscribers, whereas Sling TV’s audience was somewhat bigger at 2.3 million users.
9. In 2020, pay-TV lost 5+ million subscribers.
(Source: The Motley Fool)
According to cord-cutting statistics, more people discontinued their traditional packages in 2020, compared to 2019. The number rose by 300K during the period.
AT&T was the biggest loser, with a whopping 3 million people no longer interested in its service. The move led the company to channel its efforts to digital TV, hoping that more of its customer base would opt for it.
10. Cable and satellite TV penetration is likely to fall by 26% by 2030.
(Source: PR Newswire)
In 2017, a research and advisory company, the Diffusion Group, made a prediction about the future of pay-TV providers. Considering the rise of virtual multichannel video programming distributors, the Diffusion Group believes that by the end of 2030, the percentage of US households with traditional pay-TV services will drop from the 81% it had in 2017 to 60%. That’s a 26% decline, and if this prediction holds true, cable TV subscribers statistics are bound to change drastically.
11. 27% of households in the United States plan to unsubscribe from paid TV in 2021.
(Source: Forbes, Fortune)
Are you wondering how many cord-cutters are there in the US? In 2020, 6.6 million people said goodbye to the service, which equated to 15%.
The discontinuation for subscriptions in 2021 is likely to double. Going by the trend, we might see about 12 million cancelations by Q4 of 2021.
12. 27% of Americans plan to cut pay-TV by Q4 of 2021.
(Source: Media Play News)
The Trade Desk surveyed around 2,100 cable TV consumers. Its findings were that nearly 30% planned to discontinue using cable TV by the end of 2021. That is way more than eMarketer cord cutting statistics, where the firm predicted a 3% decline every year.
13. The number of cord-cutters is predicted to reach 55.1 million by 2022.
A market research company, eMarketer published its forecast relating to the growth of the cord-cutting trend. The company laid out the information about the people in the US who stopped paying for traditional pay-TV services.
In 2017, and according to eMarketer, 9.8% of US adults canceled their subscription to pay-TV services. When it comes to last year’s cord-cutting statistics, 2018 marked significant growth in this trend. As eMarketer pointed out just seven months ago, the percentage of cord-cutters in the US jumped to 33 million (12.9% of the American population).
According to eMarketer’s predictions for 2019, we can expect 15.2% of the US population to cut their TV cord. This translates to 39.3 million cord-cutters. In 2021, there could be over 50 million cord-cutters in the US.
eMarketer’s cord-cutting statistics for 2022 predict the cord-cutting population to reach 55.1 million people in the United States.
14. Over 70% of people without traditional paid TV in 2021 say that the Web offers what they want.
(Source: Pew Research Center)
With more people spending most of their time online, they no longer find the need for television subscriptions. 71% of the percentage of people currently without the service cite video content available on the internet as their top reason.
15. In 2021, the 18-to-29 age group has the majority of cord-cutters.
(Source: Pew Research)
In 2021, that percentage has reduced by half, compared to 2015. Back then, the generation had 65% viewership. According to cord-cutting stats, those over 65 years are fans of cable TV, representing 81%. Of course, that’s understandable, considering that’s what the peer group has known for most of their lives.
16. 39% of people without cable or satellite TV in 2021 say they’ve never subscribed for it.
(Source: Pew Research)
Almost 40% of people without traditional TV have never subscribed for it in the first place.
69% say that traditional TV service is too expensive, while 45% rarely watch television.
57% of those aged 18-29 cite high costs as the most significant reason they won’t go the cable route. The percentage is even higher with those older – 72% of 30 to 29-year-olds and 77% of those over 50 years share the same sentiment.
17. 64.5% of digital video viewers in the US watch Netflix at least once a month.
Headquartered in California, cord-cutters’ favorite among over-the-top video service providers is Netflix. A 2018 study from eMarketer showed that 64.5% of US digital video viewers watch Netflix at least once per month.
Another research showed that Netflix ranked second among OTT video services with 171.6 million worldwide viewers in 2020. First place went to Google’s YouTube that even in 2018 had approximately 192 million viewers – and that’s only in the US!
Other OTT video service providers with a considerably high number of US viewers include Amazon (88.7 million), and Hulu (55 million). So, based on these, as well as another subscription video-on-demand statistics, the market forecast is that the number of SVoD subscribers in the US will reach 208 million by 2023.
18. AT&T digital plans to sell a 30% share to TPG.
(Source: The Motley Fool)
Cord-cutting stats show that the company is severing 30% of its spin-off TV to TPG, a private equity firm. Hopefully, that will inject some money that it so desperately needs after thousands of cancelations. It will still retain ¾ of its new business, which will be worth about $16 billion.
19. 39% of sports lovers are using social media and other streaming services to watch live matches in 2021.
(Source: Media Play News)
In 2021, nearly 40% of people that watch live tournaments aren’t doing so using traditional TV. They’re watching games via ad-supported streaming online. Surprisingly, those who still use traditional TV say that watching live sports is the only reason they still subscribe.
One of the many conclusions we can draw from all this data is that traditional pay-TV is on shaky ground, with all the OTT video service providers out there making quite the waves. The high fees of TV packages are boosting the growth of cord-cutting, and to lower their losses, cable and satellite TV providers will have to step up their game.
All in all, that was all we’ve prepared for you in today’s edition of cord-cutting statistics.
What’s your opinion on the cord-cutting trend? Let us know. We’d like to hear from you!
Major satellite and cable TV customers experienced an 8% fall in their number of customers last year.
Around 60%, according to recent cord-cutting statistics.
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Over 182 million people, according to video streaming service statistics for 2021.