Study: One Third of Pay TV Subs Plan to Cut the Cord in 2024

remote and streaming content on a TV
(Image credit: NBCU Local)

As advertisers and media players plot their strategies for 2024, a new survey from Disqo offers a plethora of data on consumer attitudes and their plans for accessing media and entertainment content in 2024. Key data points include the finding that one third of pay TV subs said they plan to cut the cord in 2021 and only 21% said they plan to increase their streaming subscriptions.

The survey found broad acceptance of ad-supported streaming services, particularly as a way to save money. But it also highlighted the fact that negative views towards advertising are still widespread.   

Overall, 51% said they were extremely likely or very likely to subscribe to the streaming service with ads. The percentage of those who were extremely or very likely to subscribe to ad-supported services varied only slightly by age among Gen Z (48%), millennials (49%), Gen X (47%) and boomers (39%). 

The overwhelming top reason for adopting a lower cost ad supported services was cost (59%), followed “used to ads everywhere” (25%) and content break (12%). Among those who would not settle for the lower cost ad tier, 50% said they disliked ads and 48% said it reduces enjoyment.    

About 41% said they had neutral feelings about brands who advertised on streaming services, but 45% said they were either annoyed (28%) or worried (17%) about brands advertising on streaming services. Only 33% expressed positive feelings about brands advertising on streaming, including just 5% who said they were "excited" about the trend.

The researchers said that widespread negative feelings about ads combined with the willingness of most consumers to adopt ad supported tiers as a way to save money meant that advertisers need to prioritize the viewing experience by adding interactive features such as QR codes and keeping the ads relevant to the audience. 

The study also documented the rapid decline of pay TV services, with only 41% of all respondents still maintaining a pay TV subscription. Only 35% of those in the Gen Z age group were pay TV subs. Even among the boomers, only 47% had not cut the cord. 

In contrast, nearly nine in ten adults (88%) had a streaming subscription. 

The survey also found that the crackdown on password sharing had reduced account sharing. Only 30% reported streaming through someone else’s account.  

There was also widespread interest among consumers for bundles of content as a way of reducing costs and improving the viewing experience by making it easier to access content. Only 26% said they preferred a la cart subscriptions, while 48% said they preferred small bundles such as the Disney bundle of ESPN, Disney+ and Hulu, and 28% said they liked larger bundles through providers like Verizon and Comcast. 

More information on the study can be found 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.