Advanced Television

45% of US think cable TV is ‘waste of money’

June 27, 2013

Despite a high price tag and the growing availability of programming options online, many Americans are still reluctant to cut the cable television cord, even though a survey from and Harris Interactive reveals that nearly half of US adults (45 per cent) think cable TV is a waste of money. 81 per cent report they are currently subscribed to cable or satellite television services.

While most Americans are currently subscribers of cable or satellite TV programming, there are some who have decided to find entertainment elsewhere. More than one-in-ten (11 per cent) US adults report they have previously subscribed to satellite or cable TV, but don’t anymore. In addition, 8 per cent said they have never subscribed to any television services, with young Americans ages 18-34 more likely (15 per cent) to have never had television services than those ages 35 and older (5 per cent).

When it comes to how much viewers are shelling out on their cable or satellite TV bills, US adults who currently subscribe to either service said the following:

  • $1 – $100 – 69 per cent
  •  $101 – $149 – 16 per cent
  • $150 – $199 – 10 per cent
  •  $200 or more – 5 per cent

“Despite the big bills that arrive month after month for TV services, most Americans continue to subscribe,” said Jackie Warrick, senior savings adviser at “In fact, 15 per cent of cable subscribers we surveyed said they would never consider dropping cable TV services. As more viewing options arise at lower price points, though, it’s likely more consumers will pull the plug.

Sports fans may have a harder time cutting the cable TV cord. More than four-in-ten (43 per cent) US adults report they won’t cancel cable TV services because then they can’t watch live sports programming. On the flip side, 14 per cent of current US cable subscribers said they would cut their cable cord if there were alternative ways to watch live sports broadcasts.

In addition to live sports programming options, when asked what situations would motivate them to cut the cable TV cord, current US cable subscribers said the following:

  • If there were other, less costly, alternatives – 56 per cent
  •  If I couldn’t afford to watch cable anymore – 55 per cent
  •  If I wasn’t watching TV often enough – 27 per cent
  • If there were alternative ways to watch live broadcasts – 17 per cent
  • If I only watch a few of the channels – 17 per cent
  • Other – 5 per cent

Regardless of the cost, live programming options or changing viewing habits, some cable TV subscribers decide to switch to other providers because of issues. Nearly one-third (32 per cent) report they have switched cable providers because of poor service (e.g. customer service, picture quality).

Categories: Articles, Broadcast, Cable, Consumer Behaviour, Research