Horowitz Study Indicates MVPD Subscription Declines May Be Leveling Off

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(Image credit: Pluto TV)

After years of steady declines, cord-cutting by subscribers to MVPDs may finally be flattening while viewing on free streaming services is on the rise, according to a new study from Horowitz Research.

More than half (52%) of the 2,200 adults surveyed in Horowitz’s State of Media, Entertainment and Tech: Subscriptions 2023 study said they subscribe to multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), matching last year’s survey percentage. Further, 80% of MVPD subscribers rate their satisfaction with their pay TV provider at 80%, slightly up from last year, according to the researcher. 

Also, 32% of cord-cutters say that they might return to cable if the cost of streaming services continue to increase. Consumers report spending more than $50 per month on subscription streaming services, with only 33% of cord-cutters reporting that they were saving “a really good amount” compared to the traditional MVPD bundle. Increasingly consumers are looking for managed services to help control costs, according to Horowitz. 

“Managed services — in which subscribers can see and manage all their streaming content in one place — would be an antidote to the challenges inherent to today’s highly fragmented streaming space, and consumers seem open to consolidating their services together,” Horowitz Research chief revenue officer and insights & strategy lead Adriana Waterston said. “It’s a matter of which companies will compete to be the managed services solution from the streaming age, between traditional MVPD’s and tech companies like Amazon, Samsung, Roku and Apple.” 

Meanwhile, consumers are spending more time accessing free ad-supported streaming TV [FAST] services. Nearly 70% of viewers use free streaming services like Pluto TV, Tubi, Peacock and YouTube at least monthly, up from 42% in 2019, according to the survey. 

“The adoption of AVOD/FAST services — and the concomitant increase in streaming ad revenue we can expect to see — will help offset revenue loss on the linear side, which is critical as programming costs continue to skyrocket,” Waterston said.

The survey was conducted in January and February of 2023, Horowitz said.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.