20 Cord Cutting Statistics & Trends for 2021 [Winds of Change]

Over recent years, cable TV providers continue to lose their customer base progressively. This is mainly due to consumer technologies’ changes – Internet use and the rise of streaming services. This inevitable change is inherently paving the way for cord-cutting. The COVID 19 pandemic accelerated cord cutting trend. With many people staying at home, cable TV content couldn’t satisfy their thirst for content. Digital platforms such as Netflix and many more came to the rescue.

Here, are some latest cord cutting facts trends of 2021 that you should know:

What is Cord Cutting?

Cord-cutting refers to the act of canceling cable TV providers for more satisfactory and cheaper alternative online TV steaming. That is, moving from cable providers or satellite subscriptions to streaming online platforms.

Cord-cutting is mainly done in three ways. The cheaper one, leaving the pay-TV cable for the free Over the Air (OTA) broadcasts. All you need is an antenna for this type of cord-cutting. However, you may not enjoy much content, and you may encounter interference. 

Next, cord-cutting the right way, Over the Top (OTT) cord-cutting. Here, you stream content via the internet. OTT may involve subscriptions, which are worth the content you get than the pay-TV cable. You get to pick what befits your watching needs. Popular examples include Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, online live TV, social media streaming, and much more.

Lastly is cord trimming (to trim the cord); users retain the pay-TV cable but opt for the base package, usually news or sports. Cord trimmers also have subscriptions to other online streaming platforms.

Latest Cord Cutting Stats for 2021 & Beyond

Without further ado, let us take a look at the some important Cord Cutting Facts:

  • Pay-TV subscriptions are expected to continue declining while Non-pay TV households will continue to rise in 2021.
  • True cord-cutting households are also likely to increase in the year 2021.
  • Over the Top broadcast will continue with the upwards trend to about 194.2 million.
  • The video streaming market, which has exhibited continuous growth, will hit above $70 million by the end of 2021.
  • Live streaming is likely to experience a 60% increase, which is a remarkable improvement.
  • Netflix, Disney +, BBC iPlayer, and other streaming platforms will raise their subscription fee in 2021.
  • Cord cutting trends also suggested that Social media streams will also increase by 7.2% in 2021.
  • More pay-TV providers are selling their assets and shifting into the streaming world.

General Cord-cutting Statistics for 2021

From the above brief, online steaming and cord-cutting rates are at record highs but the same cannot be said for cable TV, which is declining drastically. Below are general cord-cutting statistics on the cord-cutting upward trajectory and how much potential this swing has in store. The numbers provide a clear indication of the cord-cutting state.

1. Price is still the main reason for cord-cutting.
Source: Magid

The advent of cord-cutting was due to high cable TV prices and a lack of variety of content. Still, these are the current drivers of cord cutting with other factors, such as the rise of digital platforms. According to Magid, during this Corona pandemic, more TV subscribers are likely to cancel their subscription.

 

Cord Cutting Statistics
Price is the key cord cutting driver. Source: Magid

 

2. Non-Pay TV households on the rise.
Source: eMarketer

Non-Pay TV households consist of cord cutters and cord ‘nevers’ (never used pay TV). Their number continues to rise exponentially. In the US, most households will ditch Pay TV by 2024. In 2019, there were 44.6 million, while in 2020, the number rose to 51.7 million. Comparatively, there will be an increase in 2021 and the coming years.

 

 


Cord Cutting Statistics – US Pay TV vs Non-Pay Tv households. Source: eMarketer 2020

 

3. 86% connected to the internet in the US.
Source: Liechtman research

In the 2020 Leichtman research based on telephone calls, it was found that 86% of US households are connected to an internet service. This is an increase from 84% in 2015. This rapid increase in internet consumption was due to the pandemic and the shift to cord-cutting.

4. Covid-19 accelerated cord-cutting.
Source: Protocol

During this Covid-19 stay at home period, most people opt for online streaming platforms suggested by below-given cable TV statistics. This coincides with the profits of streaming platforms and losses of Cable TV. Traditional cable and internet-based TV providers such as Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, Charter, and Dish saw a decline in their subscribers in 2020. This trend is likely to continue in 2021 in favor of cord-cutting.

 

 

TV services subscribers in the first half of 2020, compared to 2019. Source: Protocol

 

TV Viewership Trend on Declining

5. Another trend on declining Traditional TV viewership
Source: Grounded Reason

Traditional TV providers rely on cable or satellite to avail their content. However, over the years, their subscriptions are immensely declining. Cumulatively, from 2016, cable and sat continue to decline from 84.8% to 68.6% in 2020. Most people are picking live TV and streaming channels.

 

 

A trend on how households watch TV. vMVPD are services like Hulu and Sling. Source: Grounded Reason

 

6. The decreasing number of TV household
Source: Statista

According to data collected from Statista, in the US, there were about 127.59 million TV households by 2018. It is further observed that in 2019 and 2020, there were 120.6 million households with TVs. The shift is due to the use of other devices to watch content such as smartphones and tablets.

US households Cord-cutting Statistics: 

7. 31.2 million US households cut the cord in 2020
Source: eMarketer

In the US, an aggregate of around a 31.2million users cut the cord by the end of 2020. Also, 6.6 million were planning to cancel pay-TV subscriptions. This trend is likely to continue until 2024.

 

 

US Cord-cutters. Source: eMarketer

 

8. Over the Top streaming market growth
Source: Research and markets.com

This consists of streaming services such as Netflix and Apple TV. Though stability is expected to be reached by 2023, the previous two years have seen the market grow from $104.11 billion to $161.37 billion in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Once again, the pandemic accelerated these numbers.

9. Live TV streaming sustained growth in China
Source: Global times

Live streaming has become more common in recent years and is taking the world by storm. Live streaming is most prevalent in China, with about 900 million users in 2020.

 

 

Video streaming in China. Source: Global Times

 

10. Four-fifths of US consumers have a streaming option
Source: Deloitte

According to digital media trend sources via Deloitte insights, 80% of US consumers now subscribe to at least one paid streaming video service. This is a significant improvement of 73% before Covid-19. It was also found that subscribers may have up to four subscriptions of steaming services. It is likely they will revert to one service once restrictions are lifted in 2021.

 

 

A survey of streaming subscriptions, pre-Covid-19, and during Covic-19. Source: Digital Media Trends

 

11. Social media streaming statistics
Source: Conviva

Facebook, YouTube, and other social media platforms have created a space for streaming content, including news. By the end of 2019, Facebook garnered 2.5 billion active users; hence it signed deals with a few brands and dealers to encourage the use of Facebook Live. YouTube has also experienced a rise in the number of consumers to around 2 billion people.

 

 

Social media streaming content. Source: Conviva.

 

12. The rising cost of streaming content
Source: Applico

Steaming giants such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and others pay top dollar to have professional content. However, the demand for content and keeping up with profits has proven costly. Hence, streaming platforms will raise their subscription fees in 2021 to keep up with production costs.

13. Advertisers are shifting their strategy to streaming platforms
Source: Think with Google

Everybody hates ads when streaming content. This is not the case anymore, as consumers now want free content with ads. With cord-cutting, advertisers now have a massive market to exploit. Some OTT statistics suggest that streaming platforms have made deals to offer content for free but with bits of ads. According to a 2020 report, 72% of households have an unlimited wireless connection. A few ads won’t be costly to the data plan.

 

 

Consumers prefer ad-supported streaming. Source: Digital media trends

 

14. Increased demand for streaming devices
Source: Business Wire

Streaming devices are also enablers for cord-cutting. Major content providers such as Google, Amazon, Apple, and others will continue to ramp up their production in 2021. It is estimated that the global streaming devices market size will reach $18.97 billion by 2027.

15. Streaming wars not to end soon
Source: Wired

Key players in the industry such as Netflix, Disney +, Amazon, HBO Max, and other streaming platforms have all laid out plans for 2021. Each offering is meant to lure in new or keep the current subscribers. For example, Disney is eyeing for 230 million subscribers by 2024.

16. Digital content piracy on the rise
Source: ITIF

As cord-cutting becomes popular, so is the streaming of content illegally. In 2019, the US chamber of commerce established that content piracy accounts for 126.7 billion views of US-produced TV shows. In 2020, there was an 80% increase in online piracy. Without proper measures, this trend will continue in 2021.

17. Netflix still gaining subscribers
Source: Nasdaq and Statista

Netflix is still popular across different countries. In the third quarter of 2020, Netflix had 195.15 million subscriptions worldwide. North American users accounted for 73 million subscribers.

 

 

Netflix users worldwide. Source: Statista

 

18. Disney +, a newcomer with most subscribers in a short time
Source: Statista and Nasdaq

This has become a major streaming service provider due to its shows. In 6 months, Disney + gained 57.5million subscribers.

19. YouTube has the largest number of users, over 2 billion.
Source: Think with Google

Besides having the most users, this platform also has the highest number of daily active users, standing at 163.75 million as of 2020. This number is likely to increase in 2021.

20. HBO Max and Peacock platforms are on the gain
Source: The verge

HBO Max received $1.5billion worth of content from AT&T which will keep it on the go in 2021. Peacock, though a late entry into the streaming industry, by early December 2020, it had 20million subscribers. In 2021 it is expected to keep up the gaining streak.

Conclusion: Winds of Change

With the shift to streaming services, many platforms are trying to scramble for their fair market share. This is by offering unique quality content, suggesting what to watch, subtitles, and other features.

Cord-cutting and online streaming are the current indicators of how consumers watch content. Although the future for the cord is unsteady, it will be the end of cable TV. It is predicted that by 2024, most households will not have pay-TV subscriptions.

Above, given Cord-cutting stat are the current indicators of how consumers watch content. Although the future for the cord is unsteady, it will be the end of cable TV. It is predicted that by 2024, most households will not have pay-TV subscriptions.

Sources

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