If you follow the broadcasting space at all you have likely heard the phrase “cord cutting”. In short, that phrase refers to a consumer moving from a traditional pay-TV broadcaster to a streaming service like Netflix or Dish AirTV. Unsurprisingly, this trend shows no signs of slowing down.
A recent Nielsen study found that the number of cord-cutters in the United States has grown by 48% over the last eight years alone. That means that roughly 16 million American homes no longer have a traditional pay-TV service like cable or satellite. Those 16 million people tend to fall into one of two groups. Either they are older and still rely on an antenna, or they are younger and get their media content from subscription streaming services.
According to this study about 6.6 million people fall into the older generation using an antenna category. Those people are not great indicators of a trend away from pay-TV because many of them never subscribed to a broadcasting service in the first place, and have utilized an antenna for their content their entire lives.
The people who are pushing this cord-cutting trend are, predictably, younger. According to this Nielsen study 9.4 million American homes have at least one streaming service. Many have more than one.
It is also worth noting that streaming services no longer exist to the exclusion of live television. Several streaming services, including Playstation Vue and YouTube TV offer live television content to their streaming subscribers.
The way the general American public digests their media content is changing. The days of the radio are ceding to the reign of podcasts, just as cable television seems to have paved the way for the streaming giants that exist today. The data tells us that cord-cutting is popular, the constant conversations with our friends about what’s on Netflix only serves to reinforce this.
Of course, none of this is to say that cable or satellite services are no longer useful or desired. Cable and satellite are still the best way to get the access to the most content at anytime. Perhaps even more importantly, cable and television are the easiest (and often only) way to access live sporting events.