October 15, 2020
Cord-cutting among pay-TV households is increasing. So much so, one research firm is revising its forecasts. New data from The Diffusion Group finds that 36% of pay-TV subscribers will drop service by 2025 — up 9.5% from the previous five-year period.
TDG had previously estimated that by the end of 2020, pay-TV households in the U.S. would range from 83.5 million to 87 million. Instead, pay-TV households fell to 81 million at the end of last year.
Last year, TDG again recalculated pay-TV households going forward ranging from 75.7 million households to 76.7 million. Through six months of the year, pay-TV households held around 77 million.
The same trends apply to online TV, which includes services such as Sling TV, AT&T TV, Philo, YouTube TV and Fubo, among others. TDG had projected online TV households would reach upwards of 14 million by 2019. Instead, there were less than 10 million (9.8 million) households subscribing to online TV through June 30 this year.
“Our 2017 forecasts underestimated the growth in cord-cutting and overestimated the uptake of [online TV],” Michael Greeson, president and principal Analyst at TDG, said in a statement. “Beginning in 2007, our five-year forecasts have been eerily accurate, but it was obvious that 2017 forecasts needed to be tweaked. We were within 5%, but at two years out versus five.”
According to TDG, in 2015, 16% of broadband households were likely to cancel their pay-TV service, with 7% moderately likely or definitely doing so. In 2020, 25% of broadband households are likely to drop service (up 56% from 2015), with 13% definitely doing so (up 86% from 2015).
As a result, TDG believes 14 million U.S. broadband households are more than likely to drop pay-TV going forward, with about half of that number doing so this year.