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Published on February 4th, 2019 | by Brad Gibson


More U.S. households now have Netflix than pay TV, study says

For the first time, more U.S. households have a Netflix account than a pay TV account, according to a new study. The results lend more credence to evidence that streaming is becoming more of the norm than the exception, even among older Americans.

A study examining how Americans interact with video by the consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (doing business as PwC) shows in 2018, 76 percent of U.S. households used Netflix, while 67 percent used pay TV. Compare that to the year before when streaming users and pay-TV subscribers were equal at 73 percent.

The PwC survey also found that 27 percent call themselves cord-trimmers, 25 percent are cord-cutters, and 8 percent are those who have never subscribed to a cable or satellite service.

19 percent of those surveyed say they’re “in a committed partnership” with their pay-TV provider, a rise from 17 percent in 2017. 20 percent of those surveyed considered themselves “trapped” in their current video relationship, down from 22 percent in 2017. 

Pay TV customers surveyed said they were happier with their current entertainment option decisions because they have more choice.

One strong indication streaming is becoming more mainstream is the acceptance of older Americans. In 2018, 28 percent of those 50 and older had cut the cord, up from 19 percent the year before. 61 percent of consumers 50 and above now access TV content from the internet, compared to 48 percent just two years ago.

If consumers in the PwC study had anything negative to say about streaming services it was how difficult it is to find shows they want to watch. More than one-third surveyed (36 percent) believe that finding content on streaming platforms needs to be easier with 30 percent saying artificial intelligence falls short recommending the same content over and over again.

The data comes from an October 2018 survey of 2,016 adults in the U.S. age 18 to 59 with household incomes over $40,000.

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About the Author

Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as,,,, and He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the AOL, the BBC, Associated Press, and United Press International.

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