As of 2020, cord cutters now account for 20% of American households. Pay-television providers continue to lose millions of customers each year, but the rate has slowed some. In fact, in 2021, the market share was reduced by 3 million customers where it had been 6 million in 2019 and in 2018.
Choosing the Best Approach to TV for You
Arguments can be made for and against cable television. Is 2021 an outlier and a reflection of the pandemic or representative of a shift in consumer perception? It is impossible to say at this point. There is some speculation that consumers are started to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of streaming choices. That is not supported by cord cutters in general—56% surveyed liked the many choices—but they may not be indicative of the people now considering cord cutting and opting not to.
If you currently have cable TV provider, you should consider the price you are paying, your favorite programs and your viewing habits. Would any or all of those improve with cutting the cord or not? Another consideration is whether or not your cable provider is willing to sweeten the deal in order to keep you as a customer. They are often are. Here are three other reasons you may want to stick with cable:
Reason #1: Live Sports and Live Local News
Among cord cutters who miss some aspect of cable TV, 23% of them indicate that it is either live sports or live local news or both. Streaming services simply do not provide the same level of access to live sports yet, and in cases where they do, the costs associated with it are often significantly higher.
A great example of this was the recent Olympics in Tokyo. Only a small subset of the available programming was made available online as ad-supported content. If you wanted all of it, then you had to add the Peacock paid service. If you had cable TV, then you get NBC essentially for free, and that came with access to most—not all—of the NBC streams of Olympic content at no additional charge.
Reason #2: On-Demand Titles and Pay-Per-View Content
Most of the content that is available on demand via cable TV providers is available through streaming services as well. There is a big difference, however. Most cable TV providers make all of the on-demand content they offer available to you regardless of what your particular plan entails. When it comes to streaming services, on-demand availability varies, and you will encounter cases where you have to pay for another service in order to have the right to pay for a movie or event that you want to watch.
Reason #3: No Reliance on the Internet
Being a cord cutter means relying on the internet. Internet outages are more common than cable TV outages. Streaming is also more demanding. If you live in a household with four or more people, you need at least 100 Mbps. That can get expensive. Many people opt to cut the cord to save money but then have to increase their Internet expenditure beyond what they would otherwise need. This does not apply to all cord cutters but is certainly worth examining if you are still making the decision.
Cord cutting can save money, but it really depends on who you are as a TV watcher. It is also worth noting that maximizing your savings often requires you to be active in subscribing and unsubscribing each month. It is worthwhile but certainly not a hassle that every TV watcher wants to deal with.
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