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With streaming services and internet television packages growing in number seemingly every day, more and more Americans are beginning to cut the proverbial cord to leave the traditional pay television methods behind. With that said, it's estimated that around 5.5 million people will have dropped their TV subscription services by the end of 2017, from just this year alone. That number, while not astronomically high in and of itself, represents a growing trend that could see traditional cable television witnessing a much quicker decline in subscribers than experts previously expected.
In total, research firm eMarketer reported to Variety that the overall number of cord cutters in America will increase to 22.2 million adults, at least by the firm's estimations. That's an increase of 33% from 2016, which had 16.7 million cord-cutters. According to eMarketer, who'd predicted a ways back that 2017 would have only 15.4 million total leaving their cable and satellite subscriptions, this increase is showing that the market is trending towards flipping to streaming standalones and other skinnier programming bundles, although the movement still has a long way to go before it can officially top traditional television pay services.
22.2 million is definitely nothing to brush off, but it's just a drop in the pot compared to the 196.3 million American adults who are estimated to still have cable and satellite by year's end. That's not to say the old school formats still have a lot of time before they have to worry, however, as eMarketer also brings up the third demographic that's measured apart from both these groups: the "cord-nevers," who just never got into any kind of TV packages. Currently, the estimation is that there are 34.4 million Americans who have never subscribed to pay TV, and when they're added to the numbers of the cord-cutters, that number (56.6 million) looks a lot more daunting.
The current projection eMarketer presents says that the number of cord-cutters and cord-nevers will total 80 million Americans by 2021. That means four years from now, around 30% of Americans will not be a part of the cable and satellite game. It sounds hard to believe, but with Netflix continuing to spend to stay on top, and companies like CBS and Disney launching their own streaming services, it seems the major players in television are well aware the changes are happening at a faster clip that previously expected. With cord-cutting numbers already exceeding past projections for 2017, it may be even possible that the number estimated for 2021 will be higher when that year arrives.
The good news is, regardless of what happens to cable and satellite, good television is here to stay. Cord-cutters and pay TV users alike can see what shows are lined up for the fall season on our helpful fall premiere guide. For the 22.2 million adults who currently call themselves cord-cutters, be sure to check out Cinemablend's podcast The Cord Cutter Podcast to keep up on all the latest and greatest in television streaming as well as analysis and discussion surrounding some of the hottest shows out there.