In a seismic shift, traditional cable TV subscriptions in the United States are pised to hit a new low, dropping to just under one-third of households by 2028.
This revelation comes from a recent report by research firm GlobalData, highlighting the surging trend of cord-cutters and “cord-nevers” in the country.
The forecast indicates a significant decline from the current year, where approximately 42% of U.S. households are expected to have pay TV.
This sharp contrast harks back to 2010 when over 85% of households were subscribed to cable TV, underscoring the rapid evolution in viewing habits over the past decade.
The driving force behind this transformation is a combination of early cord-cutters and younger viewers who either eschew cable entirely or have never subscribed to it.
Instead, consumers are flocking to alternative options such as free, ad-supported platforms like The Roku Channel, Tubi, and Pluto TV, along with live streaming services like YouTube TV and Sling TV, and subscription services like Netflix and Disney+.
Analysts attribute this shift not only to the natural progression of younger generations towards new technologies but also to the emergence of the ‘generation rent’ phenomenon.
Young consumers, facing challenges in the housing market, opt for flexible entertainment choices that don’t require physical installations, offering unbundled services with the freedom to cancel and resubscribe.
Looking ahead to 2024, the streaming landscape is poised for further transformation.
Rising subscription rates may prompt discerning audiences to explore more time on free, ad-supported services.
Despite the decline in pay-TV subscriptions, cable companies are positioning themselves to control a larger share of the shrinking market by focusing on high-speed internet services and bundling streaming options, although the success of this strategy remains uncertain.
GlobalData predicts a decline in total pay-TV revenue to less than $63.6 billion by 2028, down from the current annual tally of $80.8 billion, reflecting the undeniable sway of streaming in the evolving entertainment landscape.