More Than a Quarter of US Households Will Cut the Cord in 2021

Cord cutting is more than just a trend, it’s the way of the future. And viewers are proving that as more and more join the ranks every year. This year, 27% of US TV households will ditch cable according to a report by The Trade Desk, up from the 15% of new cord cutters in 2020.

Part of the reason for the acceleration in growth for 2021 is fueled by the Covid-19 pandemic that has people spending increased amounts of time indoors and in front of their screens. According to the report, less than half of Americans subscribe to pay-TV.

“COVID has accelerated cord-cutting trends that were already underway, to a point where less than 50% of U.S. households today have a cable subscription. It’s not because U.S. consumers have fallen out of love with TV, but that there are now more convenient ways of consuming it. That even applies to traditional cable mainstays, such as live sports,” said Tim Sims, chief revenue officer, The Trade Desk. “As more broadcasters launch and expand their streaming services, these gaps are only going to widen.” 

Streaming now accounts for 68% of TV watching compared to cable’s 28% in the shared space. Another factor in determining whether cable subscribers will cut the cord this year is the dwindling live sports scene we witnessed in 2020. Only 30% of US consumers say live sports is a good enough reason to hang on to their cable subscription compared to 60% from nine months ago. Social media and Connected TVs are increasingly popular ways for consumers to watch live sports, with 39% of viewers choosing those options over cable. The pandemic has only boosted that trend.