Cord cutting is continuing to grow! Thanks to a report and the new study from MoffettNathanson, only 34 million Americans subscribe to cable TV. Satellite services have 15 million subscribers in the third quarter of 2023. That is a drop of over 42 million subscribers from when both services peaked. So where are these subscribers going? Are they going to live TV services like YouTube TV or are they switching to on-demand service.
According to MoffettNathanson, live TV services combined now have 18 million subscribers. Here is a breakout of the most popular live TV streaming services based on subscribers:
- YouTube TV: 6.5 million subscribers*
- Hulu + Live TV: 4.6 million subscribers
- Sling TV: 2.12 million subscribers
- Fubo: 1.477 million subscribers
*Numbers are estimated.
These four streaming services add up to 14.697 million subscribers according to the Leichtman Research Group. The rest of the subscribers are spread across multiple other streaming services.
There are two big notes regarding these numbers. First, DIRECTV STREAM no longer reports numbers. Combined, satellite and streaming numbers for DIRECTV are 11.85 million subscribers according to the estimate from the Leichtman research group. This means 24 million Americans canceled cable TV or satellite and did not replace it with a live TV streaming service.
Where are cord cutters going?
Increasingly, Americans are switching from live TV service, such as cable TV and streaming, to on-demand services like Netflix, Disney+, and Paramount+.
Also, those who are not sports fans are switching to on-demand–only options. Recently Variety reported that a majority of the top 100 most watched programs in 2023 were live events—mostly live sports. All but one of the top 21 spots were NFL games. The Super Bowl was the most watched program in 2023 with 115 million viewers.
Even live TV streaming services like Sling TV and Hulu lost subscribers in early 2023 before turning that around for the fall 2023 TV season.
These numbers must worry network executives and are likely why they are funneling so much money into their own streaming services. Even though they have yet to become profitable Paramount+, Peacock, Max, and other streaming services are seen as the future for these companies as they are forced to accept the growth of cord cutting.