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State of the Screens

Cord Cutting’s Still All the Rage

By August 25, 2022No Comments

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Eight big questions re: cord cutting:
1) How do Americans receive television?
2) How many homes currently subscribe to a pay-TV bundle?
3) What share pay-TV subscriptions are streaming?
4) How large is the pay-TV market?
5) How does the broadband market compare to pay-TV?
6) Why is total pay-TV revenue not declining at the same rate as subscribers?
7) Which demographic groups are more likely to keep pay-TV?
8) What types of content are valued most in the pay-TV bundle?

Big question #1: How do Americans receive television?

Share of U.S. TV households by source according to Nielsen:
1) Traditional pay-TV – 57%
2) Broadband-only – 27%
3) Antenna (OTA) – 15%

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Big question #2: How many homes currently subscribe to a pay-TV bundle?

Quick answer: 78.1M

YoY change in pay-TV subscribers:
1)
 Traditional pay-TV –  5.7M
2) 
Streaming pay-TV –  1.9M
3) Total pay-TV – 
 3.8M

Total pay-TV subscriptions (YoY growth):
1) 
2019-Q2 – 91.0M
2) 
2020-Q2 – 85.9M ( 6%)
3) 
2021-Q2 – 82.5M ( 5%)
4) 2022-Q2 – 78.1M ( 5%)

Big question #3: What share pay-TV subscriptions are streaming?

Quick answer: 17%

Streaming pay-TV subscriptions (YoY growth):
1) 
2019-Q2 – 8.2M
2) 
2020-Q2 – 9.9M ( 20%)
3) 2021-Q2 – 11.7M ( 18%)
4) 2022-Q2 – 13.0M ( 17%)

Streaming share of pay-TV subscribers:

1) 2019-Q2 – 9%
2) 
2020-Q2 – 12%
3) 2021-Q2 – 14%
4) 2022-Q2 – 17%

Traditional pay-TV subscriptions (YoY growth):
1) 
2019-Q2 – 82.8M
2) 
2020-Q2- 76.0M ( 8%)
3) 2021-Q2 – 70.7M ( 7%)
4) 2022-Q2 – 65.0M ( 8%)

Big question #4: How large is the pay-TV market?

U.S. pay-TV revenue from subscriptions (% change) according to Kagan:
1) 2016 – $117B
2) 2021 – $91B (↓ 22%)
3) 2025 – $65B (↓ 29%)

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Big question #5: How does the broadband market compare to pay-TV?

Quick answer: Broadband service is now a larger (and growing) business for companies such as Charter and Comcast.

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Total broadband subscriptions (YoY growth):
1) 2019-Q2 – 100.0M
2) 
2020-Q2 – 103.4M (↑ 3%)
3) 
2021-Q2 – 107.4M (↑ 4%)
4) 2022-Q2 – 108.7M (↑ 1%)

Big question #6: Why is total pay-TV revenue not declining at the same rate as subscribers?

Quick answer: As inflation and cancellations have increased, pay-TV prices have risen faster.

Annual price change between 1995-2015, according to CordCutting.com:
1) Pay-TV – ↑ 6%
2) 
Inflation –  2%

Big question #7: Which demographic groups are more likely to keep pay-TV?

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

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Big question #8: What types of content are valued most in the pay-TV bundle?

Quick answer: 51% of pay-TV subscribers are regular sports and news viewers.

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Bad sign: No cable network is in the top 5 most essential TV sources.

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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.