Cord Cutting Is Outpacing Expectations, Despite OTT Partnerships With TV Providers

33 million adults gave up pay television, analysis shows

The number of adults in the U.S. who will watch pay TV this year is down 3.8% from 2017. Getty Images
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Viewers are continuing to cut the cord, more so than they were projected to do, despite TV providers’ partnerships with OTT platforms, according to a new analysis released today.

This year, 33 million adults in the U.S. have cancelled pay TV service or continued without it, according to eMarketer. That accounts for 32.8 percent of the adult population, though it was only projected to reach 22 percent this year, according to the analysis.

Overall, 186.7 million adults in the U.S. will watch pay TV this year, whether that’s via cable, satellite or telco. That’s a decrease of 3.8 percent from the last year but less than the decline from 2016 to 2017, when it was 3.4 percent.

Most TV providers, including Charter, Comcast and Dish, have platforms that integrate with Netflix. Still, these partnerships are in the “early stages” and aren’t forecast to have a “significant impact” this year, eMarketer senior forecasting analyst Christopher Bendtsen said in a statement.

“With more pay TV and OTT partnerships expected in the future, combined with other strategies, providers could eventually slow—but not stop—the losses,” Bendtsen said.

The streaming platforms are expected to grow even more, due in part to the demand for services and the amount of original programming they offer.

“Consumers increasingly choose services on the strength of the programming they offer, and the platforms are stepping up with billions in spending on premium shows,” said eMarketer principal analyst Paul Verna, in the statement.

@SaraJerde Sara Jerde is publishing editor at Adweek, where she covers traditional and digital publishers’ business models. She also oversees political coverage ahead of the 2020 election.