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State of the Screens

Cord Cutting Continues To Cut Deep

By May 27, 2021No Comments

Cord Cutting

QoQ change in pay-TV subscribers:
1) Traditional pay-TV – ↓ 2.2M
2) Streaming pay-TV – ↓ 327K
3) Total pay-TV – ↓ 2.6M

Year-over-Year Change for Reported US TV Providers

Total pay-TV subscriptions (YoY growth):
1) 2019-Q1 – 91.6M
2) 2020-Q1 – 87.1M (↓ 5%)
3) 2021-Q1 – 83.0M (↓ 5%)

TV is dead, long live TV - US pay TV penetration is down a third from the peak

Traditional pay-TV subscriptions (YoY growth):
1) 2019-Q1 – 83.9M
2) 2020-Q1 – 77.5M (↓ 8%)
3) 2021-Q1 – 71.4M (↓ 8%)

Streaming pay-TV subscriptions (YoY growth):
1) 2019-Q1 – 7.8M
2) 2020-Q1 – 9.6M (↑ 23%)
3) 2021-Q1 – 11.7M (↑ 22%)

U.S. homes without traditional pay-TV according to nScreenMedia:
1) 2014 – 15.6M
2) 2015 – 17.8M (↑ 14%)
3) 2016 – 20.8M (↑ 17%)
4) 2017 – 26.5M (↑ 27%)
5) 2018 – 32.7M (↑ 23%)
6) 2019 – 40.7M (↑ 24%)
7) 2020 – 48.6M (↑ 19%)

US homes without cable, satellite, or telco TV 2014-2021

Interesting: Streaming pay-TV is much easier to sign-up and cancel, leading to larger swings in churn around seasonal content (NFL, etc.).

Quarterly Change Rate for Reported US TV Providers

Big question #1: What are the main reasons people are forgoing pay-TV?

Top reasons for not subscribing to traditional pay-TV according to Pew:
1) Content available online – 71%
2) Too expensive – 69%
3) Do not often watch TV – 45%

Nonsubscribers cite the availability of content online and cost as reasons they do not subcribe to cablle or satellite TV

Big question #2: Which age groups are forgoing traditional pay-TV at the highest rate?

Share of adults that forgo traditional pay-TV:
1) 18-29 – 66%
2) 30-49 – 54%
3) 18+ – 44%
4) 50-64 – 34%
5) 65+ – 19%

The share of younger adults receiving TV via cable or satellite has plunged dramatically since 2015

Michael Beach

Michael Beach

Michael Beach is the Chief Executive Officer of Cross Screen Media, a media analytics and software company that enables marketers to plan, activate, and measure CTV and linear TV at the local level. Michael is also the founder and editor of State of the Screens, a weekly newsletter focused on video advertising that is a must-read for thought leaders in the advertising industry. He has appeared in such publications as PBS Frontline, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Axios, CNBC and Bloomberg, and on NPR’s Planet Money podcast.

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