Report: American households are dropping cable television fast

Evening watching television
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Could cable television be headed down the same path as VHS recorders and cassette tapes? A new report seems to suggest so.

Breaking Up With Cable

More U.S. households are breaking up with cable television, a trend that first became noteworthy in about 2010. (We’re not jumping to any conclusions, but 2010 does happen to the be the glorious year when Netflix began offering standalone streaming services. Shortly thereafter, terms like “binge watching” made it into our modern-day lexicon.)

To gauge our television consumption, The Convergence Research Group published a report called “The Battle for the American Couch Potato: Online & Traditional TV and Movie Distribution.” Excuse us while we shrug off the label “American Couch Potato.” Oof. 

Anyhow, the report estimates that:

  • Cable subscribers in the United States declined by 1.16 million in 2015.
  • Then, subscriptions went down by another 2.05 million in 2016, according to the firm’s estimates.
  • In 2017, an estimated 2.11 million subscribers will give cable television the boot.


Ditching Cable

So, looking at the big picture, how do those numbers translate? In 2016, researchers estimated that 27.2 million U.S. households—or about 22.3 percent of  households—didn’t have a cable or satellite television. The firm forecasts that, by 2017, those number will rise even higher, and nearly a quarter of households won’t have cable television.

If you’re making budget cuts to your household budget, it might make financial sense to get rid of cable. In 2016, the average household’s cable bill hit $103 a month, according to Fortune, which was up from $99 the year before. But the trend might not continue, as cheaper cable bundles might be on their way.

Meanwhile, base prices for streaming services are much cheaper. For example, a Hulu subscription starts at $7.99 a month. You can also get a basic subscription to Netflix for $7.99.

Ready to abandon your own cable subscription? Here’s a beginner’s guide on how to watch television without paying for cable.

[h/t: The Penny Hoarder]

About the Author

Brittany Anas

Hi, I'm Brittany Anas (pronounced like the spice, anise ... see, that wasn't too embarrassing to say, now was it?) My professional writing career started when I was in elementary school and my grandma paid me $1 for each story I wrote for her. I'm a former newspaper reporter, with more than a decade of experience Hula-hooping at planning meetings and covering just about every beat from higher-education to crime to science for the Boulder Daily Camera and The Denver Post. Now, I'm a freelance writer, specializing in travel, health, food and adventure. I've contributed to publications including Men's Journal, Forbes, Women's Health, American Way, TripSavvy, Eat This, Not That!, Apartment Therapy, Denver Life Magazine, 5280, Livability, The Denver Post, Simplemost, USA Today Travel Tips, Make it Better, AAA publications, Reader's Digest, Discover Life and more. Learn More.