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Most Cord-Cutters Aren’t Missing Cable TV

At a time when the number of cord-cutters continues to climb, a new report indicates that most folks who ditched their cable TV service don’t miss anything about it.

In a March survey of over-the-top (OTT) video users by programmatic platform OpenX and analytics firm The Harris Poll, 52% of 528 cord-cutters said they don’t miss anything about cable or satellite TV. Live events, sports and news were the programs they missed most.

“Cord-cutters are reacting to the fact that they do not like being forced to pay for channels they do not watch—and they do not like being restricted by device, time or place to access their programs,” said Dallas Lawrence, chief communications and brand officer at OpenX.

We expect the number of US cord-cutters—adults who have cancelled a pay TV service and continue without it—to climb 18.9% this year to 39.3 million. And we forecast the number of cord-cutter households will increase by 17.8% to 18.4 million.

Meanwhile the number of pay TV households in the US is expected to decrease by 3.0% in 2019, to 87.9 million. It's worth recognizing, though, that pay TV households still considerably outnumber cord-cutters.

“Cord-cutters are part of a small group of early adopters, most of whom don’t watch a lot of TV, and for whom the ability to watch live sports is not an issue,” said Alan Wolk, co-founder of video consultancy TV[R]EV. “I would bet that many of them also had access to their parents' cable TV passwords for those times they wanted to watch linear TV.”

To combat churn, cable providers are pushing "skinny bundles," which are streaming services that offer customers access to live TV for a lower monthly cost. But they are becoming more expensive. In recent months, Hulu with Live TV raised its price by $5 per month, and YouTube TV and DirecTV Now raised their monthly rates by $10.

With the cost savings of skinny bundles shrinking, young people displaying loyalty to Netflix, new OTT services launching, and cord-cutters not looking back, traditional TV companies have their work cut out for them to maintain subscribers.