The cord-cutting phenomenon continues, as more Americans turn their back on pay-TV packages in favor of streaming services and basic antennas.
The latest "State of Pay-TV" quarterly report from TiVo has highlighted that while cable still rules – with 84.8 percent of Americans having pay-TV – more and more are considering canceling their packages, and there's been a rise in the number who have done so in the last 12 months.
Of the 15.2 percent without a pay-TV cable/satellite service, 21.8 percent said they'd canceled their service in the past year. Almost half of those still paying for cable said they're either actively planning to cut their service/switch to online streaming only, or were "open to considering it."
The biggest reason is an obvious one: cost. The TiVo study found 37.1 percent of Americans pay more than $100 a month for their TV package, of which just over 10 percent spend more than $150.
The second-biggest reason for cutting the cord also relates to cost, with viewers saying they instead signed up to streaming services to get their content instead. Those price of those services – such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Video – is considerably less per month than most pay-TV packages.
The number of people using alternatives to cable/satellite is on the rise:
- The number of people who say they're using streaming services like Netflix rose 9.3 percent in the first quarter of 2017.
- The number of people who say they use these services so they can "binge-watch" an entire season rose 8.2 percent.
- People using antennas to get basic channels on their TV rose 5.3 percent.
- 14.5 percent of people said the bulk of their TV viewing is shows like House of Cards that are exclusive to streaming services.
People want to pay just for what they watch
While they're paying out a lot of money for their TV package, consumers' satisfaction is pretty low. Just 23.7 percent say they're "very satisfied" with what they get, while 22 percent are actively dissatisfied.
An oft-repeated complaint about pay-TV packages is that you only watch a fraction of the channels you're paying for, so it's no surprise that 77.3 percent of respondents to the TiVo survey would like "a la carte" pay-TV packages where they can select which channels they want.
But the amount they're willing to pay for, say, their top 20 channels is declining, with consumers saying they'd be willing to pay $28.31 for these channels, a 14 percent decrease in the past six months. This could be a knock-on effect of cheaper TV streaming packages offered by the likes of Sling TV and PlayStation Vue.
GoMN's Tip Jar feature compared the price of TV streaming services with cable TV packages, which you can check out here.
While people may be leaving cable packages, there has been an increase in the number of people paying extra for premium content on channels such as HBO, Showtime and The Movie Channel, as well as sports packages.
Some 40.9 percent of cable subscribers pay for at least one premium channel, which is a rise of 5.2 percent over the past three years.
Perhaps the reason why people are willing to pay for sports packages is because they get frustrated when trying to find their favorite teams and sporting events on their regular cable packages, with 34.3 percent saying they're "always" or "sometimes" frustrated trying to track games down.
This in turn is playing into the hands of websites such as Twitter and Facebook that have started live streaming sporting events such as baseball, football and soccer.
Some 13.5 percent of respondents said they'd watched a live sporting event on Twitter or Facebook.