Last Updated: June 30, 2020
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
- In 2019, there were 39.3 million cord-cutters in the US
- 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 has 163.5 million users as of October, 2019
- Pay-TV providers lost 1.8 million subscribers back in 2018
Now, that we went through the basics, let’s jump to some of the most interesting cord-cutting facts.
Impressive Cord-Cutting Statistics for 2020
Cable cord cutting statistics in 2020 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 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 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 2020 is so rife.
4. The number of paid US TV subscriptions has dropped by 2.7 million in the last 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. With 163.75 monthly active users, YouTube remains the most popular video streaming service in the US
According to streaming services statistics in 2020, YouTube is the most popular, with 163.75 monthly active users. Second comes Netflix, with 46.55 million users.
General Cord-Cutting Stats
Now that you know the latest data, let’s dive deeper.
7. There were 120.6 million TV households in the USA for the 2019/20 season.
To get a better understanding of the TV ecosystem in the US, we focused our attention on the number of TV households in the US. According to the data from Statista, in 2018 there were 127.59 million households in the United States. The latest numbers from a Nielsen study, on the other hand, show that the number of TV homes for the 2019/20 season stands at 120.6 million. These two numbers show that nearly 94% of American households have a TV. Now, the question is how many Americans have cable TV?
8. In 2018, 186.7 million adult Americans watched cable or satellite TV.
(Source: Tech Crunch)
One 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. The numbers from 2018 and according to an eMarketer cord-cutting study, show that close to 187 million American adults have cable or satellite TV. So, the traditional paid TV still has a lot of cord-loyalists behind its back. Now, let’s take a closer look at pay-TV providers.
9. 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.
10. Traditional pay-TV providers lost 1.8 million subscribers in 2018.
(Source: USA Today)
When it comes to cable TV subscribers statistics, 2018 was the year when major US cable providers saw a lot of their subscribers go. USA Today reported that cable providers lost 1.1 million subscribers in the third quarter of 2018. During the same period, 726,000 people left their satellite TV providers. Taking these two numbers into account, traditional pay-TV providers lost 1.8 million subscribers.
Tony Lenoir of S&P Global Market Intelligence pointed out to the wealth of streaming services. These providers represent a large threat to traditional pay-TV providers, and, as Lenoir emphasizes, cord cutting had only just begun, and we haven’t seen the end of it. We agree with Lenoir, as cord cutting accelerates at a fast pace.
11. 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.
12. In 2019, there were 39.3 million cord-cutters in the US.
(Source: Tech Crunch)
One of the most recent studies from eMarketer forecasted that the number of people who have cut the TV cord by the end of 2018 is close to 33 million people. In 2017, the number of cord-cutters stood at 24.9 million, and in just a year, this number increased by 6 million with a growth rate of 22%. Furthermore, anyone wondering how many cord-cutters there are in the United States in 2020 could safely assume that numbers will be higher from last year’s prediction – or, approximately, 45 million.
13. 59% of Americans from all states parted ways with legacy pay-TV says a 2019 Waterstone study.
(Source: Waterstone Group)
The Waterstone Group study is one of the most recent researches on cord-cutting. The study was conducted in December of 2018; as such, it can help us get a better insight into cord cutting 2019 statistics. Another reason why the Waterstone survey deserves attention is the fact that it gathered information about cord-cutting from all 50 states.
The Waterstone Group recorded answers from 5,000 Americans to determine how the cord-cutting trend is catching up across different states. The results have shown that the highest number of cord-cutters comes from Idaho (72%), followed by Kentucky (70%), and Tennessee (69%). The cord-cutting statistics show that the lowest number of people who cut the cord comes from Mississippi (47%) and New Jersey (36%).
Based on all the answers, the Waterstone research shows that 59% of Americans have already cut the cord, whereas 29% of participants are thinking about cutting the cord.
14. 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 2020, that number is expected to jump by nearly 6 million, while 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.
15. CNBC study shows that 57% of Americans have some form of streaming service.
In March of 2018, CNBC published the All-American Economic Survey with 801 Americans participating in the research. One of the key takeaways from the study was that 57% of participants have a streaming service of some kind. The highest number of those who participated in CNBC’s research stated they use Netflix.
Another interesting part of the research shows how many people have dropped cable. 30% of the survey participants use only cable or satellite TV services, while 36% of them use both cable/satellite and streaming services. When it comes to streaming loyalists, around 20% of participants rely solely on streaming.
Based on the numbers from CNBC’s research, it’s easy to conclude that Americans are adopting streaming services very quickly despite the fact that, at this point, cord-cutters are greatly outnumbered by traditional pay-TV users.
16. Who are the cord-cutters? Americans aged 25 to 34, says a PwC study.
The study from PwC is based on the answers of approximately 2,000 Americans aged between 18 and 59. Even though this study dates back from the final quarter of 2017, newer surveys only reinforce the key takeaways from this particular study. Even today the PwC study depicts the cord-cutting demographics perfectly.
According to PwC, 90% of Americans between the age of 25 and 34 access TV content via the internet. The second-largest segment of cord-cutters are Americans from the 18-25 age group at 87%. Next are the cord-cutters aged 35-49 (78%), while the lowest percentage of those who’ve cut the cord comes from the age group of 50 to 59 (63%).
On the other hand, the last age group has shown the highest increase in watching TV via the internet. The PwC cord-cutting stats show that in 2015 this age group (50-59) accounted for 49% of cord-cutters, while in 2017 that number increased by 14%, reaching the aforementioned 63%.
We took a glance at a 2018 cord cutting research from comScore, and the data hasn’t changed much. The highest number of cord-cutters are still Americans aged between 25 and 34.
Lastly, the PwC research also showed that 82% of people surveyed would cut the cord if it weren’t for live sports.
But what percentage of American households have cable TV? The answer to this question might swing in favor of internet TV providers if they find a way to offer better viewing options for live sports.
17. The main reason for cutting the cord is the price.
In 2018, Variety shared valuable insights from TiVo’s Online Video and Pay-Tv Trends Report for Q4 2017. The report said that one of the crucial factors for canceling a subscription for traditional pay-TV is the price. This piece of information deepens the understanding of streaming vs cable statistics, or more precisely why so many people are ditching pay-TV and switching to OTT streaming services.
Out of 3,300 people surveyed, as much as 87% of participants said they’d cut the cord due to the high cost of pay-TV. The study participants also said the amount of money they would set aside for self-selected channels is around $36. However, in reality, around 85% of people surveyed pay more than $50 per month for cable or satellite TV, and for 56% of them, that cost is even higher at $76 or more.
With all this in mind, we’re likely to hear the question “What is cord cutting?” quite less often in the future. People are now more educated about the wealth of cable TV alternatives. The number of people subscribing to internet TV is on the rise, and this trend isn’t losing its momentum anytime soon.
18. 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 ranks 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.
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 2020.