Post-Pandemic, Consumers Might Drop TV Subscriptions

Antennas Direct

During the pandemic, Americans loaded up on streaming services, but as the country enters a post-COVID era, consumers are looking to spend less on TV, according to a study by Antennas Direct.

Consumers are starting to feel the financial pinch from spending on streaming and cable subscriptions, with two in five saying they've had to limit spending elsewhere to afford their TV subscriptions and four in five conceding they’ll need to cut back to pay unaddressed bills or household utilities costs.

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Only half of those studied said the will keep all their TV services post-COVID, while one in three already have plans to cut cable or streaming services and two in five plan to cut more than one type of service.

“We could see a major shift in TV subscriptions and services as many consumers look for more affordable entertainment options. Streaming providers are likely to see the biggest impact,” the report said. 

“Consumers want services that are affordable, but also offer a high-quality experience that isn’t confined to their TV set,” the report said. “Even while they were stuck at home one in five Americans primarily used a mobile device or laptop to watch TV, and one in four plan to watch even more TV on their mobile device post-COVID.“

The study found that in 2020 half of Americans started new streaming or cable subscription services to access local new channels. 

“Cord cutting should be about creating low-cost, flexible access to TV programming. As the streaming competition intensifies and cable providers try to keep up, consumers are falling victim to overspending to access news and entertainment content,” the report said.

As far as Antennas Direct is concerned free over-the-air TV is part of the solution. 

“As the leading provider of digital antennas for over-the-air TV, we are committed to supporting consumers on their cord cutting journey, enabling them to access free and local broadcast programming and lower their monthly TV costs,” the report concluded.

Antennas Direct surveyed 1,200 consumers who regularly use cable or streaming services on March 30. 

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.