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From Cord to Stream

It's a familiar story: for the last decade or so, cable and satellite TV providers have been losing subscribers, as "cord cutters" shift their spending from traditional TV to on-demand streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.

But is that really what's happening?

We used our panel of over 3 million credit and debit cards to find out.

We compared three groups of customers:

  1. "Cord cutters": those who were cable/satellite customers in the first half of 2016 (spent $300 or more) and then stopped being cable/satellite customers in the second half of 2016 (spent $100 or less)
  2. Consistent cable/satellite customers (spent $300 or more in both first and second halves of 2016)
  3. All customers

Here's a chart comparing the percentage of customers using popular video streaming services between the three groups:

As expected, cord cutters are more likely to be using streaming services than the average customer.
What's more surprising is that customers who are still subscribing to cable/satellite are even more likely to also use streaming services. It seems that the most prolific streaming service customers are those that just enjoy TV, not cord cutters.

This pattern is also present when comparing the spend per customer between the three customer groups:

Moreover, when comparing the spend per customer of customers who cut the cord in the second half of 2016, we see no meaningful difference in their spend on streaming services between the first and second halves of 2016:

It seems that cord cutters aren't flocking to streaming services - they were already there. It turns out that the best streaming customers are just people who love watching TV, whether they're giving up on traditional TV or not.

Learn more about consumer spending analytics with TXN.