53 Cord Cutting Statistics: Is Streaming TV Right for ME? 

When was the last time you watched traditional TV? 

If you can’t answer immediately – then it’s been a while. In 2019, that’s not surprising. 

Maybe you are one of those people who don’t have cable TV at home? 

Or you don’t own a TV set because you simply don’t need one?

Or you just watch Netflix and that works for you? 

Today we are here to explore the depths of cord-cutting statistics. Nowadays, the number of people who have renounced traditional TV with 600 channels is on the rise. 

How many cord-cutters are there exactly? 

Let’s dive into some hot cord-cutting stats to find out: 

  • In 2018, there were 33 million Americans who cut the cord.
  • In Q1 2019, US pay-TV providers lost 1,325,000 subscribers
  • 186.7 million Americans watched cable or satellite TV in 2018. 
  • By 2022, 55.1% of Americans would have cut the cord.
  • 78% was the penetration of pay-TV in the US in 2018. 
  • Only 2 out of 3 US households pay for cable TV.

Now that we’re all thinking about TV, let’s get started:  

Fascinating Cord Cutting Facts

Perhaps you’re wondering: 

Why is cord-cutting such a big deal in 2019? 

The thing is: 

Cord-cutting in the US reached record levels this year. 

But let’s first get back to basics: 

What is cord cutting?

To cut the cord means to cancel your paid TV subscription. Many people nowadays are cutting the cord. Why? There are pros and cons of almost everything in life. That’s why we made a list. 

Pros and cons of cord-cutting: 

Pros: 

  • Control everything you are watching. 
  • Cable TV is expensive – you can save money with a cheaper service like Netflix.
  • Watch simultaneously on more than one device. 
  • If a channel is not available in your country, you can use a VPN – easy peasy! 
  • You can just watch TV online – you are paying for the internet anyway.  

Cons: 

  • You need a different subscriber if one streaming service is not enough. And that can be pricey. 
  • You won’t be able to watch local channels.
  • You need a top-quality internet provider.

More and more people nowadays prefer streaming TV to cable or satellite. In the US the numbers are staggering:

How many cord-cutters are there in the United States?

As usual, we rely on statistics to give us the full picture: 

1. In 2018, there were 33 million Americans who cut the cord. 

(Source: Tech Crunch

  • In 2017, the number of cord-cutters in the US was 24.9 million
  • In 2018, 18.8% of subscribers claim they plan to cut the cord in the US.
  • In 2016, the number of cord-cutters in the US was 16.7 million. By 2021, US cord-cutters will amount to at least 40.1 million.  

Some people say cutting the cord was one of the biggest decisions of their lives. One thing is for sure: 

The main reason for cutting the cord is the price of pay-TV services. The amount of money US households set aside for cable may be a deal-breaker for a lot of users. Households that need to make some savings resort to cord-cutting. 

However:

Before you cut the cord because traditional TV is too expensive for you, you need to crunch some numbers. Make a list of the subscriptions for streaming video services you wish to replace pay TV with. 

And after that – calculate the total price and compare it with what you pay for cable. Think a bit about the future as well. Maybe today you don’t want a Hulu subscription, but you know, Castle Rock’s second season is on its way(After IT Chapter 2, who knows what Bill Skarsgård might be up to).  In other words – the allure of TV shows is an important factor.

If your decision is driven by financial considerations – just choose the one that costs less.   

In other words, cutting the cord is a way to save money, but you need to do the math before you make a big decision. 

Moving on to: 

2. The cable industry loses 14K subscribers each day. 

(Source: BGR)

3. In Q1 2019, US pay-TV providers lost 1,325,000 subscribers. 

(Source: Broadband News Broad)

One of the best benefits of cord-cutting is the ability to control your viewing experience. First things first – with cable you need to sign some kind of contract. (In most cases it’s a 2-year contract). Imagine paying $100 only for TV for the next 24 months. That’s $2,400 right there. 

When you sign up for cable or satellite TV, you need to do a credit check. That’s one more benefit of streaming – no cable checks. Also, no rental equipment. You know, the box whose remote control you keep losing. The costs add up. No wonder so many people decide to cut the cord. 

4. Only 2 out of 3 US households pay for cable TV. 

(Source: Forbes)

If a US subscriber can save up to $1,200 per year by cutting cable TV, well… the future seems bright for cord-cutters. 

If you want to cut the cord, though, don’t rush. There are people who run directly to their pay-TV provider and cancel their accounts. And they start researching the alternatives after that. Not a cool idea!

Start with the research instead. There are a lot of streaming video options out there. Test the water first before you jump!

5. In Q4 2018, the biggest cable TV provider in the US – Comcast, had only 22.0 million subscribers.

(Source: Statista

The lowest percentage of cord-cutters is in the 50-59 age group. 

Now, who are the cord-cutters

Most cord cutters are millennials, Gen Z, and Gen X. Which says a lot about the future of traditional TV… 

6. 1.2 million defections from cable TV are detected in Q3 2018. 

(Source: USA Today)  

7. 186.7 million Americans watched cable or satellite TV in 2018. 

(Source: Tech Crunch) 

Traditional pay-TV is on shaky ground. 2019 cord cutting statistics say so. There are so many opportunities – Netflix, Hulu, Roku… the list goes on. 

Streaming is about choice, and not everyone can benefit from it. It is a good idea to try streaming video services for a couple of weeks. Many of them offer free trials. That’s a promising opportunity – a way to give you time to adjust to streaming

Next question: 

How many Americans have cable TV? 

8. There were 119.9 million households in the US with cable TV during the 2018/2019 season. 

(Source: Nielson

  • The state of Idaho has the highest percentage of cord-cutters in the US – by 2019, 72% of subscribers have cut the cord.
  • In 2018, there were 143 million SVoD users in the US. 
  • Between 2014 and 2017, there were approximately 6.5 million cord-cutters in the US. 

Cable TV vs. Streaming TV

Which one would it be for you? Or maybe you’ll keep both? Some people even have the option to use an antenna, but they decide to go for the streaming package anyway.  

Now, in case you were wondering:

How many people have dropped cable in the US?

Well:

9. 59% of Americans have already cut the cord. 

(Source: West Monroe

When it comes to cord-cutting, you have one more important thing to figure out before you cancel your cable subscription. Namely:

Where am I going to get my internet from? 

If you choose streaming over cable/satellite, you will need an excellent connection. Calculate in advance how many users you anticipate to have in your household and choose a company that can give you the best deal. 

Make sure you pay attention to both the upload and download speed of the internet connection you are about to sign up for. Download speed is important for streaming, of course. But what happens if you need to upload some photos or videos online? 

Now, the two main options in the US are phone and cable companies. That’s one more thing to figure out. The thing is that cable companies generally provide a faster internet connection. 

 

Be a smart consumer! Don’t let them upgrade you to a plan you never wanted or even knew about. Knowing what you want is a consequence of research done well. 

 

Moving on to: 

10. 78% was the penetration of pay-TV in the US in 2018. 

(Source: Statista

Traditional TV is still in power. Yes, it may not be as tall, dark, and handsome as it used to be years ago when the internet didn’t exist yet, but still. In the years to come, though, things might change… 

And what about streaming TV. How is it doing nowadays? Well:

11. In 2018, Netflix spent $13 billion on content. 

(Source: West Monroe

Let’s pause for a second and think about: 

What are the most popular streaming video services?  

In 2018, there were more than 130 video streaming services

If there is such a wide variety of options, how do we choose? Now:

 

Make sure you familiarize yourself with the services and prices. The list of online channels and providers is worth spending some time to examine. Also, ask the opinion of other cord-cutters you know. Chances are they can share their experiences with you and give you a few tips before you decide. 

Next: 

12. By 2022, 55.1% of Americans will have cut the cord. 

(Source: Tech Crunch

The pay-TV landscape in the US is pretty fragmented. There are tons of options for customers who are unwilling to cut the cord. Now:

13. 56% of pay-TV subscribers say they keep paying for cable because it came in a bundle with their internet. 

(Source: Variety

  • 81.2% of Americans intended to keep their pay-TV subscription in 2018. 
  • By 2022, the SVoD users in the US are estimated to reach 160 million

Here we are, guys. Our list of cord-cutting statistics is at its end:

Key Takeaways

Canceling your overpriced cable or satellite TV contract might be a challenge. However, nowadays more and more people choose to take that step and enjoy the freedom of streaming TV.

If you are considering cutting the cord, make sure to research the alternative services and prices first. Set a trial period and calculate whether switching to streaming video services makes sense financially for you. 

Bottom line:

Cord-cutting statistics clearly state that more and more users are switching to streaming TV. However, traditional TV is still going strong. And a lot of users get their internet in a bundle with cable. 

We hope you have enjoyed our selection of cord-cutting stats today, everyone. 

Have a great day!

See you around.  

Sources:

  1. Tech Crunch
  2. BGR
  3. Broadband News Broad
  4. Forbes
  5. Statista
  6. USA Today
  7. Tech Crunch
  8. Nielson
  9. West Monroe
  10. Statista
  11. West Monroe
  12. Tech Crunch
  13. Variety

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