Published on July 26th, 2018 | by Brad Gibson


Study: Cord cutting to jump 30% this year, 22% more than 2017

33 million Americans will drop traditional pay TV service in 2018, 22 percent more than was previously estimated, according to the research firm eMarketer.

Overall, 186.7 million US adults will watch pay TV (cable, satellite or telco) in 2018, down 3.8 percent over last year. That’s slightly higher than the 3.4 percent dip in 2017. Satellite providers will have the biggest decline, followed by telco, the company said.

The numbers clearly prove that even as traditional pay-TV providers form partnerships with their streaming service rivals to retain customers, cord-cutting continues to outpace projections. 

“Most of the major traditional TV providers [Charter, Comcast, Dish, etc.] now have some way to integrate with Netflix,” eMarketer senior forecasting analyst Christopher Bendtsen said. “These partnerships are still in the early stages, so we don’t foresee them having a significant impact reducing churn this year. With more pay TV and OTT partnerships expected in the future, combined with other strategies, providers could eventually slow—but not stop—the losses.”

Meanwhile, the streaming platforms are growing at the expense of pay TV losses. In fact, eMarketer has increased its future viewership estimates for YouTube, Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. Growth is being fueled by more original programming and demand for multiple services.

“The main factor fueling the growth of on-demand streaming platforms is their original content,” eMarketer principal analyst Paul Verna said. “Consumers increasingly choose services on the strength of the programming they offer, and the platforms are stepping up with billions in spending on premium shows. Another factor driving the acceleration of cord-cutting is the availability of compelling and affordable live TV packages that are delivered via the internet without the need for installation fees or hardware.”

The firm anticipates that cord-cutting will slow down significantly next year, with predicted growth of 18.9% versus 32.8% growth in 2018.

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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.

2 Responses to Study: Cord cutting to jump 30% this year, 22% more than 2017

  1. Mike says:

    As long as cable companies keep acting like cable companies (ugly rent only power hungry cable boxes with horrible remotes, terrible UI, monthly prices too high, tricks to get you to subscribe, bait and switch, non existent customer service, lousy channel line ups full of stuff you may or may not want, etc.), why would we stay with them?
    DirectTV Now was a revelation when I tried it. I would have stayed despite the extra cost over my (forced) Fios TV costs (just to get the lowest broadband price) but, ATT updated the app recently, it became buggy as hell, the UI changed for the worse and, of course, they raised the price! So I am not bothering to renew THAT.
    Bizarrely, Verizon Fios (my provider) is *not* jumping on what could be a great app experience and making a Fios “Now” app for ATV, Roku, et al. (Really compete again with ATT.) Instead, they seem to have announced that they will be going the OTHER direction.
    Total leadership failure at Verizon!
    The whole affair reminds me of Kodak—a once great technical innovator and stable of American public companies— inventing digital photography but not “getting” it before vanishing in bankruptcy after a fire sale of its many patents. The only difference is that many people miss Kodak but NOBODY will miss cable companies one stinking bit.

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