"This year, the number of digital video services expanded at a faster pace than ever before," wrote eMarketer Senior Analyst Paul Verna. "In addition to standalone offerings from the likes of HBO, there are new digital bundles that include many of the channels consumers could only have received with cable and satellite subscriptions in the past. This widespread availability of digital content makes cord-cutting a viable option for a growing segment of the viewing population."
Cable and satellite providers are expected to steadily lose customers through 2019. The number of U.S. households subscribing to cable TV is expected to drop 0.4% this year, while the number of U.S. households subscribing to satellite TV is expected to drop 1.5%. Conversely, more American households are expected to subscribe to TV packages provided by telecom providers such as Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T (NYSE:T). That segment is expected to jump 1.8% this year.
"Telecom companies have done better than cable or satellite providers in selling bundles that include high-speed Internet connectivity, phone service and TV," wrote Verna. "These all-in-one packages often save customers money and facilitate viewing on mobile devices."
Also noteworthy, the share of viewers who have never subscribed to cable or satellite ("cord-nevers") is growing as well. This year, the percentage of U.S. adults who have never subscribed to cable or satellite TV is expected to reach 12.9%. That share is expected to grow to 13.8% by 2016.