An annual estimate of cord-cutting in the U.S. is getting a dramatic revision mid-year amid turbulent changes shaking the media business.
eMarketer announced Wednesday that the original projection of 15.4 million Americans opting out of their pay-TV subscriptions in 2017 has been upped a massive 44%, to 22.2 million (ages 18 and up).
The research firm also revised its estimates through 2021, when the number of cord-cutters is expected to pull even with “cord-nevers,” or people who never opted in to pay-TV subscriptions in the first place. The current cord-never count is 34.4 million, up 5.8% over the previous year.
The big increase also prompted eMarketer to update its prediction for 2017 TV ad dollars, from $72.72 billion to $71.65 billion. While a reduction of just 0.5%, the downward revision is enough to take the TV projection below the estimated digital ad spend figure, $72 billion.
The cord-cutting reduction means that a January projection of 201.8 million American adults subscribing to cable and satellite is now at 196.3 million. That’s still enough to put pay-TV subs ahead of the 175.4 million eMarketer estimates watch digital video in the U.S.
By 2021, eMarketer sees the total cord-cutting number dropping nearly 10%. The revision comes amid a flurry of over-the-top ventures taking hold in 2017, from direct-to-consumer plays like CBS All Access to skinny-bundle offerings including DirecTV Now and Sling TV.