Up to a fifth of US TV subs to cut cord in 2014

Michelle Clancy | 14-03-2014

Cord-cutters are on the rise in the United States, with 10% of pay-TV subscribers in a survey by Morgan Stanley saying that they 'definitely' plan to discontinue their service in the next 12 months.

That's up by 2% year-over-year. In addition, about 11% said that they will probably cut the cord this year, up from 9% in 2013 — making the potential churn rate as much as 21% overall. And even though half of cable, satellite and IPTV providers said they definitely plan to keep existing subscriptions, this would represent a six point drop from the previous year.

Nonetheless, consumers are consuming more TV content, partially because of the explosion of options to watch subscription content on mobile and connected devices. The total number of hours of television content consumed each week climbed to nearly 21, up from a little more than 19 hours last year and 16.7 hours in 2011. The number of hours spent watching just on televisions however dipped, from 15.7 to 15.5.

Unsurprisingly, those in the 18-29 demographic are more likely to walk away from traditional TV, accounting for just less than three-tenths of those who definitely planned to end service. Older people, ages 45- 64, comprised just over 15%. Also, about a fifth were tablet owners and nearly 25% were Netflix customers.

When it comes to what people are ditching their service for, Netflix is the alternative for 30% — a figure that's up 5.5%. Amazon is gaining ground, up a full 10% from last year to being used by 18% of cord-cutters. Hulu's free service fell 0.6 percentage points, but still reaches more than 15%. And Hulu Plus gained 4.3% to account for just over 10% of cord-cutter viewing.