15 Million American Households Have Cut the Cord on Pay TV

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One in six American households that pay for broadband internet access is no longer buying a multi-channel pay-TV package. They’re not buying from a cable company, a satellite company or even from a streaming service.

In a new report cited in Wednesday’s New York Post, researchers at SNL Kagan projected that the total number of U.S. broadband-only homes had reached 15.4 million. That’s more than all the households in California

The total number of 2016 cord-cutters rang in at 1.8 million. In the fourth quarter alone, 460,000 pay-TV customers dropped their subscriptions.

The data were reported earlier this month by SNL Kagan, a division of S&P Global Market Intelligence.

By 2021, SNL Kagan expects the total number of U.S. households without pay-TV service to nearly double to 28 million. That’s about equal to the total number of households in California, New York and Texas.

And that may be an underestimate, according to SNL Kagan’s Tony Lenoir, who told the Post:

That forecast could end on the conservative side given the speed at which the TV ecosystem and the US broadband landscape are evolving.

Cable subscriber numbers dropped by 472,000 in 2016, the industry’s best result since 2007. More than 100,000 of those losses came in the fourth quarter. Direct-broadcast satellite shed 18,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter, and the planned discontinuation of AT&T’s U-verse service led to a loss of 338,000 subscribers for the telcos.