Bad news for traditional pay TV: cord cutting is accelerating at a pace faster than previously estimated. According to a new industry report from eMarketer, there will be 22.2 million cord cutters ages 18 and older this year – a figure that’s up 33.2 percent over 2016. The firm said it’s had to revise its forecast as the pace of cord cutting has increased. Previously, it believed there would only be 15.4 million cord cutters in the U.S.
In addition, the so-called “cord-nevers” – meaning those consumers who never choose to subscribe to traditional cable or satellite TV in the first place – is growing, too. While the pace of that growth is slower – a more modest 5.8 percent this year – the total number of cord-nevers is higher. eMarketer says there will be 34.4 million U.S. adult cord-nevers in 2017.
When you combine the cord cutters and cord-nevers, there will be 56.6 million U.S. non-pay TV viewers this year.
By 2021, eMarketer says the number of cord cutters will nearly equal the number of cord-nevers with 40.1 million for the former, and 41 million for the latter.
The firm attributes its revised forecast, in part, to the growing list of live streaming and over-the-top platforms that are now available.
In addition to existing players like Sling TV and PlayStation Vue, in under a year’s time we’ve seen new entrants in the live TV streaming space like AT&T’s DirecTV Now, which arrived late last year; YouTube TV, which launched in April; and Hulu Live TV, which arrived in May. There’s also a growing number of sports streaming services, including fuboTV and Stadium. Meanwhile, major companies have announced similar plans to enter the live streaming space, including CBS Sports and ESPN.
And that’s just live streaming TV.
The on-demand market, which includes Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO, and others, is growing, too. Even Disney is prepping its own Netflix competitor.