Rising Costs Prompt Plans by 44% of Americans to Cancel a TV Subscription

Antennas Direct
A new survey from Mohu found that 1 in 10 Americans use TV antennas as the primary way to access all the different types of content. (Image credit: Antennas Direct)

ELLISVILLE, Mo.—The pandemic drove new levels of consumer dependence on television to stay entertained, informed and connected, but the rising cost of maintaining TV subscriptions is prompting many consumers to consider dropping at least some of those services, a new report from Mohu suggests. 

The survey from Mohu, a digital TV antenna provider owned by Antennas Direct, found that most Americans subscribe to more TV services today as compared to last year (59%) and that 2 in 5 (44%) currently have four or more subscriptions.

But the Mohu’s "TV Viewership Index,” which surveyed 1,200 U.S. adults ages 18 and older that currently subscribe to at least one TV service, also found that more than 2 in 5 (44%) plan to cancel at least one subscription within the next six months. 

As Americans subscribe to more services, the research also found that consumers cite cost as the primary driver (80%) for their plans to drop services. 

The research also found that financial challenges have pushed many to get creative with managing their TV costs by leveraging free trials (55%), sharing subscription logins (48%), tightening budgets for personal spending and activities (48%), and even cutting the cord altogether (54%).

"Access to TV is no longer just nice to have, it's an urgent necessity for every American to stay updated on critical news and information,” said Richard Schneider, CEO and founder of Antennas Direct and Mohu. “The problem is that watching this programming is becoming extremely difficult and expensive – but it doesn't have to be. While many Americans grapple with rising streaming and cable costs, a sizable group depend on TV antennas to seamlessly and affordably access the TV content they need to stay connected to the world around them.”

Other findings from the report include:

  • Americans are willing to invest in more TV content options: Three-quarters (74%) of Americans currently subscribe to different TV services to expand available content, and nearly 4 in 5 (78%) have subscribed to a new service just to watch one particular piece of content. Content is so important that 80% say limited viewing options have pushed them to cancel a TV subscription.
  • Investments also go toward optimizing the home viewing experience: Watching TV at home has become so important that Americans have invested in new devices (75%), such as a new television (86%) or streaming box (81%) to optimize the experience. Another 64% have purchased new furniture or home décor to enhance viewing at home.
  • The cable vs. streaming war continues: To avoid choosing between streaming or cable, many households are diversifying content by subscribing to both (63%). In fact, cable is the go-to source for local (54%) and national (46%) news programs, while streaming is the most popular way to access movies (57%) and TV show favorites (50%). Meanwhile, approximately 1 in 10 Americans use TV antennas as the primary way to access all the different types of content.

To download the TV Viewership Index, click here

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.