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Most Cord Cutters Are Not Trying to Replace Cable TV

One of the biggest misconceptions about cord cutting is the idea that cord cutters are just trying to replace cable TV.

The truth is most cord cutters do not subscribe to cable replacement services like Sling TV, YouTube TV, DIRECTV NOW, and PlayStation Vue. This became clear in the first quarter of 2019 as cable TV companies lost over 1.5 million subscribers and live TV streaming services saw growth slow down. Sling TV barely added subscribers and DIRECTV NOW lost subscribers.

The vast majority of cord cutters are happy with on-demand in combination with an antenna, for example. Many cord cutters who subscribe to live TV streaming services do so only seasonally. Hulu just proved this. At their recent New Fronts presentation, Hulu announced that they would make it easier to add and drop live TV for football season, for example.

There are about 35 million cord cutting households in the United States with reports that it may get close to 40 million this year. Yet there are only about 7 million subscribers to live TV streaming services like Hulu and fuboTV. Even more scary for the cable TV industry is that TDG, a well-respected research group, reported that 35-40% of subscribers to live TV streaming services also have a cable TV subscription. It turns out cable TV subscribers are using PlayStation Vue and DIRECTV NOW as a cheaper way to get channels their cable TV company does not offer.

The majority of cord cutters do not subscribe to live TV streaming services. They may still want to watch TV, but how they want to watch TV is changing. Outside of sports, more and more Americans are deciding to ditch live TV for on-demand.

Even news is not the savior of cable TV it once was. Recently a growing number of news groups, including CBS and NBC, are offering live news for free online. Other news startups, like NewsON and NewsNet, are offering 24/7 live news or live local news for free. These news groups make it possible to watch high quality live news for free without cable TV.

For some cord cutters replacing cable TV is their goal, but we often hear how cord cutters start off trying to replace cable TV only to move on to on-demand as they find that is where they spend most of their time. With research from TDG and Strategy Analytics you can see why small cable TV companies are shutting down their TV service.

Did you start off with a live TV streaming service and drop it after cutting the cord? Leave us a comment and let us know why.

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