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Published on October 31st, 2018 | by Brad Gibson


Poll: Cord-cutting grows as cable TV becomes “unaffordable”

56 percent of Americans say cable TV service is “unaffordable” while 68 percent said streaming services were “somewhat” to “very affordable”, according to a new Hollywood Reporter/Morning Consult poll taken two weeks ago.

The national tracking poll shows 47 percent found satellite TV service “unaffordable”, while just 17 percent deemed streaming unaffordable.

But while a growing number of U.S. consumers say they are not happy with the price they’re paying for cable or satellite, the major or respondents – 42 percent – said they watch more cable or satellite TV than streaming, with 27 percent saying they watch more streaming content than cable or satellite.

90 percent of Americans say that the most important factor when deciding to subscribe to a TV or streaming service is cost. 

The ability to watch on-demand content was at 37 percent for both viewing on cable, satellite or streaming. The quality of shows on streaming services was the most important factor in deciding which service to subscribe to at 58 percent.

72 percent of those who have cut the cord have little or no interest in resubscribing to traditional pay TV services. While 42 percent of Americans say they watch more cable and satellite TV than they watch streaming, the younger the demographic the fewer hours of TV watched in general, be it streaming or traditional.

When asked what factors were most important in choosing a “television bundle”, the availability of move channels and local broadcast stations were the highest.

Those 18-29 are spending more time with video games, social media and short-form YouTube content, the survey showed.

Of those using a streaming service, this polled said the ability to watch content on demand was the most important factor at 52 percent, while the quality of movies was second-most important at 48 percent.

The Hollywood Reporter/Morning Consult poll was conducted from Oct. 18 to Oct. 19 from a national sample of 2,201 adults with a margin of error of 2 percent.

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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 Associated Press and United Press International.

One Response to Poll: Cord-cutting grows as cable TV becomes “unaffordable”

  1. Mike says:

    It is important to realize that most broad band and cable in the U.S. is overseen by different municipalities, depending on what state you live in. In my state, my county oversees two, only two cable companies. Comcast and Verizon. Both of those compete very little with each other. They basically charge the same. They also price it so that if you do not get even basic cable, you pay more for just broadband. It usually ends up cheaper to get a three way package. Cable TV, broadband, and phone then to just get broadband and (any) land line phone. Sometimes people need a landline for 911 or alarm systems or, they just like it!
    In many other parts of the U.S., there is no true competition. There may be Comcast or Charter and, maybe ATT. But ATT has only two options. Old slow DSL broadband or a hybrid of optical they messed around with in very limited areas before dropping further expansion. Many of the DSL slots on a street are full or the hybrid system never came. That leaves only the one cable company choice (usually).
    For many, true cord cutting is still not easy to do in terms of *saving* you money.
    The local monopoly or local duopolies (like in my case) control the price we pay for broadband. Alone or with cable TV or phone.
    We have neither true competition in the U.S. nor a reliably run monopoly (like old Bell system was). After supporting a competitive system for decades, I am now ALL FOR a monopoly. Maybe like the electrical grid. Large regions. 6-7 companies. Not allow to do phone and internet and cable. Just one or two of them tops. (like gas and electric providers and one company under public over sight to service the lines).
    The way it works now is it does not work as a true free market, except for the wildly rich cable company executives! We need to cut the companies, not the cable service.

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