Cordcutting on the Rise? Cable Subscriptions Projected to Shrink Over the Next Few Years

    January 11, 2013
    Josh Wolford

As television and film streaming options continue to expand, people are finding it easier to get the content they want without paying for cable or premium services like HBO. The movement to ditch cable and move to online-only media sources has the catchy little name of “cordcutting.”

Recent data from research firm TDG (by way of Paid Content) suggest that cordcutting is becoming more popular, as cable subscriptions are set to decline over the next few years.

But don’t think that it signals the end for payTV. Subscriptions aren’t set to fall off that dramatically. However, it does suggest that the golden age of payTV may be behind us.

The data from TDG shows that 2012 saw a total of 100.8 million U.S. payTV households. That was down roughly 100,000 from 2011, which registered 100.9 million.

They project that subscriptions will fall to 99.3 million in 2013, and keep falling from there.

As you can see, it’s not a massive plunge. They predict that by 2017, cable paid subscriptions will total 94.6 million U.S. households, about 6% less than what we see today. But TDG says that 2011 was the peak, and that the drop off has “long-term tectonic implications.”

That’s because online streaming options will only continue to improve over the next decade and beyond. As of right now, some popular content is monopolized by cable channels – think live sporting events and premium content from networks like HBO and Showtime. And customers are forced to buy big cable packages, even if they only want to watch a few channels. But even a company like HBO, who has kept themselves tucked under the wing of cable (quite stubbornly, we might add) has launched their HBO streaming service as a standalone product in Scandinavia.

Do you think the tide is turning? Have you cut the cord?