Ready to cut the cable?

Are Americans ready to say goodbye to cable and satellite TV?

I remember the first time I heard people were choosing to disconnect their landline telephone service and rely solely on mobile phones. This was clearly many years ago at this point. It seemed sort of logical at the time, but it was so unconventional that it made me uncomfortable. However, once I put aside my own biases, I came to appreciate the notion of deep-sixing land-based telephone service in favor of mobile phones — it would save money and there’d be a lot fewer telemarketing calls to contend with. And now, of course, this is commonplace — perhaps it’s even the norm.

Well, fast forward about ten years and people are now in a similar position in terms of how to view video content. The question has become: Should we continue to access our favorite TV shows and movies via cable/satellite, or should we cut the cord and watch this content exclusively through streaming video services?

I knew streaming video services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime (among others) were getting popular, but according to the 3,002 U.S. adults that we recently polled on a VeraQuest omnibus survey, usage of these services is more prevalent than I thought, with almost half of Americans (47%) saying they have access to them. This is not far off from the proportion of Americans with cable TV service (54%)…and it is far higher than the proportion with satellite TV service (27%). In fact, a third (34%) of all Americans use both a cable/satellite service and a streaming video service, while 13% use only a streaming service.

Not surprisingly, streaming video services are more likely to be found in younger adult households than older adult households (18–29 yrs = 62%; 30–39 yrs = 56%; 40–49 yrs = 50%; 50–64 yrs = 40%; 65+ yrs = 26%). And households with kids under age 18 are more likely to have/use streaming video services than households with no kids (57% vs. 41%, respectively), which makes sense as well.

Interestingly, though, Hispanics (58%) are more likely to have/use streaming video services than Caucasians (45%) and African-Americans (43%).

Americans: Almost Ready To Say Goodbye To Cable/Satellite TV Service?

So video streaming services are popular, but are they any good? Well, our survey results show that only 43% of U.S. adults with cable TV service are “completely satisfied” with their cable TV service. An even higher percentage of satellite TV users (51%) are “completely satisfied” with their satellite service. But far more streaming video service users (62%) are “completely satisfied” with their streaming video service(s).

In fact, Americans are so hooked on their streaming video service(s) — and also perhaps a bit disillusioned with their cable/satellite service in some capacity — that half (50%) of those who currently use both say they are at least somewhat likely to cancel their cable/satellite subscription at some point in the future and only utilize their streaming video service(s). So it certainly seems that cable/satellite service will someday go the way of the landline telephone…

Could you see yourself saying goodbye to cable/satellite TV service and relying on streamed video services alone for your TV and movie access? Why or why not?