After a steady increase in cord-cutting — that is, ditching traditional TV services for streaming platforms — in the U.S. throughout all of 2019, it seems that Americans are hitting the pause button.
According to ongoing CivicScience surveying, the percentage of Americans (among those who pay for TV services) who say they have ‘cut the cord’ shot up from 30% in Q1 2019 to 35% in Q4 2019. Since that point, though, the growth of cord-cutting has faltered. Among those who have not cut the cord, the proportion that says they’re considering it has dropped substantially from Q1 to Q2 2020.
Interestingly, though, the growth of streaming services has not taken a noticeable hit. The top four streaming platforms (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Disney+) have all either seen net increases or held firm in subscribers from January 2020 to the present day, according to CivicScience data.
In fact, more than two-thirds of U.S. adults now say they have at least one streaming service (69%), and about half of all U.S. adults say they have at least two streaming subscriptions (48%).
So what gives with the pause in cord-cutting? Well, it appears that we may have reached an equilibrium point, where Americans who watch TV can now fairly predictably fall into one of three camps: traditional TV watchers, streaming-only watchers, and those who watch both (the largest group). Note that all of these categories have pretty much leveled off in the five-or-so months since New Year’s Day 2020:
It’s unclear what impact, if any, the coronavirus pandemic will have on traditional TV subscriptions when all is said and done. After all, one major strength of cable and satellite TV is their ability to deliver live programming, which has been in relatively short supply since sports leagues and other live events have been cancelled. As of right now, though, the loyalty shown by cable and satellite customers has been notable.
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