27% Of Cable TV Subscribers Will Cut The Cord This Year
from the there's-more-where-that-came-from dept
The cable industry was already struggling last year, when a record number of cable customers “cut the cord” and flocked to over the air or streaming alternatives. That was before a pandemic came to town. Now, with live sports less consistent and folks desperate to cut costs as they struggle to pay rent, the trend simply exploded in 2020. The number of folks still paying for traditional cable has now dropped 22.8% from pay TV’s peak back in 2014. But by the end of 2024, analysts expect that fewer than half of US homes will subscribe to a traditional pay TV service.
It’s a trend that’s expected to accelerate dramatically in 2021. One new survey by The Trade Desk indicates that another 27 percent of US households are planning to cut cable TV from their budgets this year:
“American households are cutting the cord on their cable subscriptions more rapidly than previously reported, according to the second Future of TV survey of more than 2,100 U.S. consumers by The Trade Desk (Nasdaq: TTD). The data shows 27 percent of U.S. cable TV subscribers are planning to cut their subscriptions by the end of 2021. That percentage is nearly double the 15 percent of cable subscribers who reported cutting the cord in 2020, and significantly higher than the approximate 3 percent annual decline reported by eMarketer prior to 2020.”
That’s quite an explosion for a trend that cable and broadcast executives have spent the last decade trying to pretend wasn’t actually happening (it was), wasn’t a big deal (it was), was only something poor losers do (studies have repeatedly proven this claim false) or would rebound once Millennials began seriously procreating (that didn’t happen). At every step of the way executives have been wrong about this phenomenon.
Even as the data clearly showed that consumers were cutting traditional, expensive cable TV service even faster than ever, some cable execs and analysts continued to try and claim that 2020 and 2021 would see a reversal in this trend. Again, that’s simply not true:
“COVID has accelerated cord-cutting trends that were already underway, to a point where less than 50 percent of U.S. households today have a cable subscription. It?s not because U.S. consumers have fallen out of love with TV, but that there are now more convenient ways of consuming it. That even applies to traditional cable mainstays, such as live sports,? said Tim Sims, Chief Revenue Officer, The Trade Desk. ?As more broadcasters launch and expand their streaming services, these gaps are only going to widen.”
Don’t feel too badly for cable and telecom giants, however. With a neutered FCC and little competition, most providers are simply planning to recoup their pound of lost flesh by doubling down on broadband rate hikes thanks to persistent monopolization we refuse to do anything about.