Cutting the Cable: More Consumers Switch to Streaming TV Services

February 4, 2019


Lured by the promise of lower costs, more Americans are switching from cable TV to streaming TV services over broadband internet connections. But streaming options are becoming increasingly complicated and prices are rising, as USA Today recently reported.

Sixty-nine percent of U.S. households now access a subscription — either their own account or someone else’s — to a streaming service such as Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hulu, up from 52 percent in 2015, according to Leichtman Research Group. Forty-three percent of U.S. households now have more than one streaming-video service, compared to 20 percent in 2015, Leichtman’s surveys have found.

According to research from The Diffusion Group, about 80 percent of all U.S. homes have broadband internet service, and 76.4 percent of those homes use a streaming service. Seventy-four percent of broadband homes also pay for traditional TV service from a cable, satellite or fiber provider, while another 8 percent use a TV service distributed over the internet, such as DirecTV Now or Sling TV. Of survey respondents in homes with broadband connections, 56 percent said pay-TV services (traditional or broadband) are too expensive. About 21 percent were considering canceling their service.

As streaming services have added more content and features, DirecTV Now, fuboTV, PlayStation Vue, Sling TV and YouTube TV all announced price increases in 2018. Some streaming services may soon start running ads during shows, despite the internet backlash that followed when Netflix recently tested what it called “promotional videos.” — Greg Beaubien


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