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US Cord Cutting Full Year 2018 Streaming Transition Picks Up Pace

Report by Tim Mulligan
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The 20,000 Foot View: Cord cutting is now an established component of the US pay-TV landscape, reinforcing the role of the US as the canary in the mine for the global pay-TV business. Cord cutting accelerated in 2018, highlighting the secular nature of the phenomenon. However, this is not simply a story of decline but instead one of transition, with streaming growing ­— in a wider sense — the total base of pay-TV subscribers. With ever more overlaps in consumer behaviour and segments across traditional pay-TV and streaming, all signs point to more of the same in 2019.

Key Findings

  • US cord cutting totalled        million in 2018, up from        million in 2017, representing a        increase
  • Satellite pay-TV providers lost        million subscribers in 2018, the largest loss of subscribers and also the largest percentage change       
  • AT&T shed the most subscribers of any US pay-TV provider in 2018        million)
  •        of US cord cutters in        2018 were streaming video on demand (SVOD) users, illustrating that cord cutting is part of a technology transition
  • SVOD services added        million subscribers in 2018, pushing the combined pay-TV subscriber base to        million
  • Half of US pay-TV subscribers in        2018 were also SVOD users 
  • Cord cutters are around eight times more likely to use HBO Now and CBS All Access than overall consumers
  • Hulu has the highest rate of cord cutting        followed by Amazon and then Netflix
  • Binge-watching consumers are more likely to become cord cutters, making up        of cord cutters in        2018
  •        of cord shavers regularly watch sports on TV, illustrating that streaming-savvy sports fans are cutting back their pay-TV subscriptions to retain sports coverage

Companies and brands mentioned in this report:  Altice, Amazon Prime Video, AT&T, Atlantic Broadband, Cable ONE, Cablevision, CBS All Access, Charter Communications, Comcast, DirecTV, DISH Network, Frontier, HBO Now, Hulu, Mediacom, Netflix, Sling, Suddenlink, U-verse, Verizon Fios, YouTube

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