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Has the Great OTT Service Cancellation Begun?

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The pandemic drove new levels of consumer dependence on television to stay entertained, informed and connected. As TV viewership behaviors evolve, consumers are investing in new subscriptions, upgrading their devices and demanding new content. In fact, a new survey from Mohu, a leading digital TV antenna provider owned by Antennas Direct, found that most Americans subscribe to more TV services today as compared to last year (59 percent) and 2 in 5 currently have four or more subscriptions (44 percent).

The 2021 TV Viewership Index surveyed 1,200 U.S. adults ages 18 and older that currently subscribe to at least one TV service to understand shifting viewer behaviors and preferences. While Americans are spending more on subscribing to a multitude of TV services, this report found that 2 in 5 plan to cancel at least one subscription within the next six months (44 percent) and they cite cost as the primary driver (80 percent). Financial challenges have pushed many to get creative with managing their TV costs by leveraging free trials (55 percent), sharing subscription logins (48 percent), tightening budgets for personal spending and activities (48 percent), and even cutting the cord altogether (54 percent).

"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," said Richard Schneider, CEO and founder of Antennas Direct and Mohu. "While many Americans grapple with rising streaming and cable costs, a sizable group depend on TV antennas to seamlessly and affordably access the TV content they need to stay connected to the world around them. At Antennas Direct and Mohu, we're committed to creating innovative antenna products that ensure Americans don't need to sacrifice their TV content due to cost."

Other findings from the report include:

  • Americans are willing to invest in more TV content options: Three-quarters (74 percent) of Americans currently subscribe to different TV services to expand available content, and nearly 4 in 5 (78 percent) have subscribed to a new service just to watch one particular piece of content. Content is so important that 80 percent say limited viewing options have pushed them to cancel a TV subscription.
  • Investments also go toward optimizing the home viewing experience: Watching TV at home has become so important that Americans have invested in new devices (75 percent), such as a new television (86 percent) or streaming box (81 percent) to optimize the experience. Another 64 percent have purchased new furniture or home décor to enhance viewing at home.
  • The cable vs. streaming war continues: To avoid choosing between streaming or cable, many households are diversifying content by subscribing to both (63 percent). In fact, cable is the go-to source for local (54 percent) and national (46 percent) news programs, while streaming is the most popular way to access movies (57 percent) and TV show favorites (50 percent). Meanwhile, approximately 1 in 10 Americans use TV antennas as the primary way to access all the different types of content.

To download the TV Viewership Index, click here.

Survey Methodology
Mohu's TV Viewership Index was conducted in September 2021 and surveyed 1,200 U.S. adults ages 18 and older that currently subscribe to at least one TV service. This survey was conducted direct-to-consumer via mobile devices.

[Editor's note: This is a lightly edited press release.]

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