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Pay-TV Absent in 32% of US TV Homes, Per Roku Report

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SAN JOSE, Calif.—The cord-cutting movement continues to make in-roads among U.S. consumers, accelerated in part by—what else—the COVID-19 pandemic. In actual numbers, a new Roku study reported that 32% of U.S. TV households do not have a traditional pay-TV subscription (cable, satellite, telco).

Roku’s findings come from its annual Cord Cutting study, which does include insights into how U.S. consumers are influenced by the current pandemic.

In addition to households with no pay-TV subscription, 25% of homes can be identified as cord shavers, referring to the fact that they have cut back their service. Of those cord shavers, 45% said that they anticipate cutting the cord fully in the next six months.

Cost savings is cited as the primary reason homes made the shift to full-time streaming. Roku reports that its users that cut the cord are saving an average of $75 per month.

In addition, nearly half of all U.S. TV households said they have been watching more free-ad supported TV during the pandemic. Also, 40% of recent cord cutter homes said that free trials to streaming services helped convince them to drop traditional pay-TV.

“While we entered 2020 with significant momentum around cord cutting, we’re now seeing that the COVID-19 pandemic and the pause of live sports has caused consumers to rethink how they access home entertainment and what they are willing to pay,” said Matthew Anderson, Roku chief marketing officer. “It’s clear that value matters more than ever and the abundance of free content, free trials to premium streaming services and the savings that consumers achieve are fueling the shift to streaming.”

Even as live sports are set to return over the next couple of weeks, just 17% of cord cutter households said they would re-subscribe to traditional pay-TV. However, 31% said they are likely to subscribe to a live sports streaming service. In the event that live sports do not return on traditional pay-TV, 52% of traditional and cord shaver householders said they are likely to reduce their package.

MARCO Consulting Inc. conducted the Roku study. The study was conducted with 7,000 Americans age 18 and over in March, and another 2,000 in May to gauge the impact of COVID-19.

For more information, visit Roku’s website