Extrapolating the worst possible outcome to its data, research firm PricewaterhouseCoopers reports that one in five pay-TV customers could cut the cord in 2016.
For a report titled Videoquake 3.0: The evolution of TV's revolution, PwC surveyed 1,200 adult U.S. consumers. For the same survey in 2014, PwC found that 91 percent of consumers polled said they expected to be pay-TV customers in 2015. For this year's survey, that number dropped to 79 percent predicting they'd still be part of the pay-TV ecosystem in 2016.
This data implies, according to PwC, that 20 percent of U.S. consumers could ditch their cable, satellite or telco TV service next year.
Of course, among the many surveys being conducted on U.S. video consumption habits, indicating plans to research companies isn't the same as actually making a breakup call to, say, Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC).
"There's undoubtedly some cord-cutting going on, but we're seeing the best video subscriber numbers we've had in a decade," said TWC Chairman and CEO Rob Marcus, telling investors at the UBS Media and Technology Conference Wednesday that his MSO might actually grow its video customer base this year.
Most of PwC's findings jibe with reports issued recently by other media and technology research companies.
PwC found that 23 percent of survey respondents said they had reduced their service in some way over the past year. Sixteen percent said they had cut the cord in the last 12 months, while 5 percent said they had never subscribed to a cable, satellite for telco TV service.
The average subscriber receives 194 channels and watches only 17, the company added in its report.
The survey reported that 77 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds are accessing TV via the Internet.
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