Streaming craze cooling off? Nearly half of Americans plan to cancel subscriptions over rising costs

ELLISVILLE, Mo. — There’s no shortage of options when it comes to television and streaming these days. Most of these services offer exclusive content at an affordable monthly rate, but subscribe to more than a few and the cost can add up quickly. Consequently, a fascinating new survey reports more than two in five Americans (44%) plan on canceling at least one of their TV subscriptions over the next six months due to budgetary concerns.

Put together by digital TV antenna provider Mohu, the TV Viewership Index survey includes data from 1,200 American adults currently subscribed to at least one TV service. In all, the average person watches seven hours of TV each week, survey results show. More than a third (35%) admit they’re glued to their set for beyond seven hours weekly.

Putting financial concerns aside for a moment, the survey also finds most Americans (86%) upgraded their setup by purchasing a new TV over the past year. In fact, a good television-watching experience is so important to Americans that 64% purchased new home items, such as furniture, just to improve their setup.

Four in five also bought at least one streaming device, such as a Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, or Apple TV. Meanwhile, 59% subscribe to more TV or streaming services today than a year prior, with 44 percent subscribed to four or more services.

The streaming TV craze is cooling off?

So, why then are so many planning on cancelling? Most (80%) cite the rising costs of services simply not being worth it. Similarly the same number agree they simply don’t enjoy the content enough or their favorite program is no longer available. Three in four respondents say they’ve had too many technical problems with their streaming devices, while two-thirds feel the product is too difficult to use or navigate.

On a related note, many viewers are getting creative to continue watching their favorite shows. A full 55 percent routinely take advantage of free trial periods, and another 48 percent share/swap login information with friends and family. Others (48%) have cut back on spending in other areas of their life to continue streaming, and 54 percent have cut the cord completely.

“Access to TV is no longer just nice to have, it’s an urgent necessity for every American to stay updated on critical news and information. The problem is that watching this programming is becoming extremely difficult and expensive – but it doesn’t have to be,” says Richard Schneider, CEO and founder of Antennas Direct and Mohu, in a statement.

Options appear to be the name of the game, as 74 percent of surveyed Americans subscribe to multiple TV services to enjoy more content. Another 78 percent have subscribed to a streaming service just to watch one particular program. Roughly four in five also report cancelling a service over a lack of viewing options.

Should I keep my cable or cut the cord?

The main rivalry at play here is cable versus streaming, but many survey respondents (63%) say they are diversifying content by subscribing to both. Millions of people still rely on local (54%) and national (46%) news stations, which can only be found on traditional TV. On the other hand, streaming services are preferred when it comes to movies (57%) and TV shows (50%).

For some, though, old habits die hard: One in 10 Americans still use an antenna as their primary means of watching TV. Installing an HDTV antenna allows anyone to access free programming in their area, typically including local news stations and other local networks. That’s great news for the millions of Americans devoted to their local television news stations. The survey shows that 70% of viewers agree that watching local news programs makes them feel connected to their community.

As streaming products become more prevalent and cable TV options remain quite pricey, 54% of respondents say they’ve already cut the cord or plan on doing so within the next six months. However, some viewers feel tied to their cable company — because it’s the only way to watch their favorite local sports team play. About half of respondents (49%) agreed with the statement, “I keep my cable package solely to watch sports content.”

The competitive market among streaming services and cable TV companies continues to widen, and one thing is clear: there’s more ways to watch TV than ever before. But providers will need to adhere to the growing financial concerns of consumers if they want to ultimately win the TV war.

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