The number of households without cable is about to triple in the next five years, according to a new report from media forecast company Magnaglobal. Cord cutting is playing a big role, but many households will also opt to never subscribe in the first place. DVR ownership growth will also slow as a result.
Magnaglobal’s new Media Access Quarterly report, which was released just in time for Adweek in New York, predicts that around four million households will have canceled pay TV and replace the service with online content by 2016. This number is up from just 455,000 households in 2011.
And there’s more bad news for cable companies in the report: The number of households that will never subscribe to pay TV will double from around 2.5 million this year to five million in 2016. Together, both groups will make up a whopping nine million households without a monthly pay TV bill.
All of this won’t just impact the bottom line of pay TV providers, but also the way people watch TV. One of the technologies negatively impacted is the DVR, which makes sense: As people cut the cord, they also have to return those cable DVRs they’ve been renting. And as they discover new ways to catch up on TV content online, recording shows isn’t as necessary as it used to be. One example: Time Warner Cable actually saw DVR subscriptions drop by 47,000 in the second quarter of 2011.
Does that mean the DVR is dead? Not so fast: Magnaglobal is still predicting that DVR ownership will grow over the next five years, but at a slower pace than previously forecast. The company now estimates that 57.5 million households will have a DVR by 2016.
Another interesting tidbit in the report comes from the U.K.: Brits have actually been using their DVRs less as the iPlayer and other online options have become more popular:
“Interestingly, time-shifted viewing as a share of all viewer hours has leveled off: the DVR accounted for 14% of all viewer hours in 2010 vs. 15% in 2007.”