Study suggests 45% of ‘cord shavers’ will soon cut pay TV entirely

cord cutting
Roku's survey suggested that 17% of recent cord cutter households would re-subscribe to traditional pay TV when live sports returns this year. (Alyssa & Colin/Flickr)

More Americans could be getting ready to cancel their traditional pay TV service soon, according to a new survey commissioned by Roku.

The study suggested that approximately 32% of U.S. TV households do not have a traditional pay TV subscription (cable, satellite, telco) and another 25% of households identified as “cord shavers” that have scaled back their pay TV service. The study also suggested that 45% of cord shaver households were likely to fully cancel their pay TV service within the next six months.

“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 Roku Chief Marketing Officer Matthew Anderson in a statement.

Sponsored by Dell Technologies

Whitepaper: How to Elevate Your Content Delivery Workflows With Dell EMC PowerScale

Learn how Dell EMC PowerScale helps meet surging viewer demand while reducing costs with a single centralized platform for the ingest, processing, and delivery of the content your viewers love.

RELATED: Cord cutting will get worse, but the financial impact will be limited

The data comes from Roku’s annual Cord Cutting survey, which was conducted by MACRO Consulting and interviewed 7,000 Americans ages 18 and over in March 2020 about their TV household, followed by 2,000 Americans ages 18 and over in May 2020 to understand changes amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

As live sports begin returning to TV, others in the industry are predicting the opposite for pay TV. Needham & Co. analyst Laura Martin said the return of sports will drive big TV ratings in the back half of 2020 and pull in new pay TV subscribers, including “cord nevers.”

"A majority of sports fans we surveyed don't consider films or television series as substitutes to pro sports competitions, so sports programming is the cornerstone of the $150 billion revenue per year traditional U.S. pay TV bundle. Emotionally, sports represents a large shared-interest community with the authenticity and unpredictability of live events, enhanced by a clear winner and loser at the end of play,” wrote Martin in a research report, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Roku's survey somewhat corroborated this theory and suggested that 17% of recent cord cutter households would re-subscribe to traditional pay TV when live sports returns this year. Another 31% of respondents said they are likely to subscribe to a live sports streaming service.