Although many households have chosen to use subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services alongside their pay-TV subscription, the share of households that are planning to cut the cord is on the rise. A recent report [download page] from The Trade Desk reveals that 27% of US households intend to cut the cord in 2021, almost double the 15% who intended to do so last year.
Intent to cut the cord is greatest among younger adults. More than one-third (36%) of 18-34-year-olds plan to end their cable TV subscription this year, while 3 in 10 adults ages 35-54 also plan to cut the cord.
Older adults (55+) are the ones who are still spending large amounts of time watching traditional TV, so it’s not too surprising that fewer (20%) plan to give up their pay-TV subscriptions. Of note, though, even this group of adults have upped their time spent streaming video.
Once the cord has been cut, the likelihood of viewers going back to pay-TV is low. A clear majority (79%) of those who have cut the cord or who have never subscribed to pay-TV say they are unlikely to subscribe.
Being able to watch news or sports live is a reason cited for why some viewers default to watching pay-TV, and is one of the reasons 6 in 10 cable subscribers keep their subscription. However, while 39% of respondents watch sports on pay-TV, the same percentage say they primarily watch sports on ad-supported streaming platforms such as Hulu or Sling TV (21%) or through social media platforms (18%) like YouTube.
Meanwhile, one of the key reasons close to half (48%) of potential cord-cutters are canceling their pay-TV is because they don’t feel they are getting enough value for what they pay. And, although 38% of adults say they are canceling pay-TV because they are attracted to streaming services due to the better viewing experience they provide, that doesn’t mean they are willing to shell out a lot of money to pay for that experience. About half (51%) say they won’t pay more than $20 per month for SVOD services. Instead, 6 in 10 prefer lower monthly fees with fewer ads (40%) or free services with ads (32%). Only 14% say they prefer to pay higher monthly fees in order to not see any ads.
Previous research shows that viewers are generally positive about the ads they see on these ad-supported services with 57% saying they see ads for products they are interested in and 12% making a purchase of a product they were exposed to through an ad.
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About the Data: Findings are based on a December 2020 survey of 2,000 US TV viewers (“TV consumers with at least one screen in their household that can be used for viewing TV content.”)