According to an article in Consumer Reports 2 million Americans cut the cable cord in 2013. Here is what they said;
all pay TV services—cable, satellite, and telco (traditional telephone companies that offer television service)—lost about a quarter of a million subscribers, cable operators took the hardest hit: They lost about 2 million customers, while satellite and telco TV services posted modest gains.
The article continues;
There are always seasonal fluctuations in pay TV service subscribers, but this is the first time that the number dropped over a full year. While there was an uptick in pay TV subscriptions across all types of providers at the end of the year, the last-quarter gain of about 40,000 subscribers—plus the yearly increases posted by satellite and telco companies—weren’t enough to compensate for the number of cable subscribers who cut the cord.
Total subscribers for basic cable TV in 2013 was estimated around 54.4 million households and compared to 2012. That means there were 2 million people that cut the cord in 2013. Does this mean Americans are finally getting tired of paying high cables bills for a bunch of channels they never watch? Will we see a mass exodus of cable TV subscribers?
Cord cutting is gaining popularity because of internet streaming services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime Video, M-Go, Crackle, and many others. These services allow you to watch what you want whenever or you can or feel like it. Often times without the hassle of a lot commercials too. What’s made utilizing these internet TV services easy is streaming internet boxes and devices like the Roku and Apple TV have had strong sales the last few years. Recently Google has come out with the Chromecast which is a small Wi-FI USB receiver that can be plugged into your TV to push content to from your laptop, tablet or phone. Amazon is also getting into the hardware TV streaming game with the new Amazon Fire as a Roku, Chromecast, and Apple TV competitor.
Lots of US homes are also now using over-the-air antennas to receive local channels for free and in HD (high definition). So why pay for local channels if you can get them for free and in HDTV? Especially if most of the TV shows you want to watch are on Fox, NBC, ABC, CBS, or PBS. While your digital TV reception and signal quality will vary depending upon where you live most cities, towns, and suburbs should be able to receive decent signals. Since the 2009 digital TV transition picture quality is clearer and crispier with digital signals. Cut the cord and get buy an HDTV antenna.
Even with all these new streaming internet TV services and devices that have hit the market in the last few years and wider use of over-the-air HDTV antennas there’s still a massive amount of people that have traditional TV bills each month.
As stated above Satellite TV subscriptions from companies like DirecTV and DISH gained Gained 170,000 subscribers in 2013. By the last estimated count there are 34.3 million Satellite TV subscribers in the US currently. Telco companies and services which includes AT&T U-verse, and Verizon FiOS TV gained 286,000 subscribers and it’s estimated that there are 10.7 million households with Telco TV services.
If we assume the numbers above are accurate add them all up and there are still 99.4 million Americans that pay for some form of TV service. That’s still almost 1/3 of all US households. So obviously telecom giants and cable TV companies still have a huge US subscriber base. Are people still not ready to cut the cord? Basically yes, it seems cutting the cord still doesn’t appeal to a lot of households.
While a lot of people still pay for cable TV I believe the more internet savvy people become, the less likely they are going to want to open their wallets. People are getting used to watching videos and content online for free and from low cost providers like Netflix. Most people complain about rapidly increasing cable bills each month with bad and supbar service. In addition basic cable gives you a lot channels you never watch and really don’t need. There’s no A-La-Carte options in the US that cable TV companies offer, at least that I’m aware of. Many people would prefer to pay for only a select few cable channels. Some major league sports have realized the opportunity and now offer live streaming subscriber options.
Have you cut the cord? Why did you cancel cable and do you feel good about the decision personally and financially? I’d love to hear comments from cord cutters and anyway that’s cut the cable cord recently or in the past few years.