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Report: US cord cutters surpass pay-TV viewers

November 30, 2023

For the very first time ever, viewers who do not pay for a traditional TV service in the US will outnumber those who do.Non-pay TV viewers – the sum of cord-cutters and cord-nevers – will grow by 12.5 per cent to 144.1 million by the end of 2023, according to Insider Intelligence. Traditional pay-TV viewers will fall by 10.2 per cent to 121.1 million.

These digital viewers will total 40 million by the end of 2023 and will have grown every year since Insider Intelligence started tracking this category in 2015. If these digital viewers were added to the traditional pay-TV audience, they would significantly outnumber non-pay TV viewers and delay the tipping point by several years.This tipping point is the culmination of viewers trending in opposite directions since 2014 – the year traditional pay-TV viewers began what seems like an irreversible decline. By 2027, Insider Intelligence expects non-pay TV viewers to effectively double traditional pay-TV viewers.

[Insider Intelligence defines ‘traditional pay-TV viewers’ as those who subscribe to live TV packages delivered via cable, satellite or telco providers. Viewers of digital pay TV services like YouTube TV and Hulu with Live TV do not count.]“Regardless of how one defines pay-TV, there is an unmistakable attrition in the number of people who are willing to pay upwards of $100 a month for a live TV bundle,” said Paul Verna, vice president of content at Insider Intelligence. “The cord cutters have won.”“The second-biggest cable TV provider in the US, Charter Communications, essentially acknowledged this during its recent carriage dispute with Disney,” Verna continued. “Other top pay-TV providers like Comcast and DirecTV will also need to accelerate their transitions from traditional pay TV to internet delivery to support the migration to streaming.”

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