New Survey Finds Nearly Half of American TV Viewers Already Cordless

44 percent of subscribers plan to cut or pull back cable service in the coming year. Advertisers shift budgets toward Connected TV at accelerated rate.

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Cordless TV consumers are on track to become the predominant TV consumer in the next year, according to the fourth Future of TV survey of more than 4,000 U.S. adults by The Trade Desk (Nasdaq: TTD). The data shows that nearly half of American TV viewers are already cordless (47 percent), while 44 percent of Americans with cable TV anticipate pulling back or cutting service in the coming year.

Cord-cutting accelerated as television programming such as live sports became unpredictable through the COVID-19 pandemic and as consumers’ hunger for on-demand content grew. The shift to CTV appears to be solidifying with the majority of TV viewers aged 18 to 34 and 35 to 54 (60 percent and 53 percent respectively) already without cable. These age groups are among the most coveted by advertisers.

Streaming skyrocketed in popularity even for sports viewing, which has traditionally been a driver for linear TV viewing. According to the survey, only 19 percent of TV viewers are returning to their pre-pandemic sports viewing habits. Meanwhile nearly half of viewers (44 percent) who watch sports are choosing a primary viewing source outside of linear TV. That number increases to 65 percent among sports viewers aged 18 to 34.

“We are entering a new TV normal, where new streaming viewing models sit side by side with traditional TV formats,” said Tim Sims, Chief Revenue Officer, The Trade Desk. “From an advertiser’s perspective, this shift presents a tremendous opportunity. They can reach those streaming TV viewers with more precision and accuracy than ever because they can apply data to those TV campaigns in a way that’s not possible with linear. So, it provides incremental reach that’s an important element of a comprehensive TV ad campaign.”

The research also indicates the current TV content arms race cannot be financially sustained for providers or consumers without relevant ads, and consumers are becoming more receptive to advertising even on CTV. According to the study, more U.S. TV viewers report watching streaming content with ads (44 percent) than without ads (33 percent). Indeed, nearly two-thirds of U.S. TV viewers (64 percent) don’t want to spend more than $30 in total per month on streaming services, making free or lower-cost ad-supported services more attractive to consumers.

Advertisers Embrace the Power of Data-Driven Targeting on CTV

Just as consumers have doubled down on streaming TV, advertisers are also embracing CTV for its data-driven advantages and incremental reach. A separate survey of 150 advertisers conducted with Advertiser Perceptions found that 92 percent of advertisers believe that CTV is as good as, or outperforms, linear TV advertising, compared to the eight percent who say it’s not as effective. Their advertising budgets support this view, with 45 percent of advertising professionals increasing their CTV budgets over the last year. What’s more, among those who shifted budgets to CTV, 91 percent said they will maintain those shifts or increase investments in CTV.

Among the reasons most often cited for this shift, advertisers called out the following benefits of CTV:

  • Audience quality (young consumers, cord-cutters, etc.)
  • Incremental reach to linear TV
  • Ability to target consumers more precisely
  • CTV measurement tools

These benefits are particularly apparent for marketers when thinking about TV event advertising. In fact, 74 percent said that buying CTV ads in conjunction with live sports events can be more cost effective and impactful than classic sports sponsorships.

“Today's marketers are under a lot of pressure to prove the ROI of every advertising dollar, and that has encouraged marketers to think about how CTV can provide incremental value as part of a TV ad campaign,” said Sims. “Advertisers want better cross channel measurement and the ability to tie that measurement to actual business outcomes. That means CTV is becoming an increasingly important component of most contemporary marketing plans.”

Methodology for YouGov survey

The fourth Future of TV consumer survey was conducted for The Trade Desk by YouGov. Fieldwork for this survey was conducted from April 27 to May 5, 2021. It’s a representative survey with a total sample size of 4,019 adults in the U.S. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all U.S. adults (aged 18+).

Methodology for Advertiser Perceptions survey

Advertiser Perceptions conducted an online survey of 150 TV advertising planning and buying decisionmakers with an annual TV ad budget of $5+ million. Fieldwork for this survey was conducted from April 22 to May 5, 2021.

About The Trade Desk

The Trade Desk™ is a technology company that empowers buyers of advertising. Through its self-service, cloud-based platform, ad buyers can create, manage, and optimize digital advertising campaigns across ad formats and devices. Integrations with major data, inventory, and publisher partners ensure maximum reach and decisioning capabilities, and enterprise APIs enable custom development on top of the platform. Headquartered in Ventura, CA, The Trade Desk has offices across North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. To learn more, visit or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

About Advertiser Perceptions

Advertiser Perceptions is the global leader in research-based business intelligence for the advertising, marketing, and ad technology industries. Our expert staff delivers an unbiased, research-based view of the advertising market with analysis and solutions tailored to your specific KPIs and business objectives. These insights provide you with the confidence to make the very best organizational, sales, and / or marketing decisions, driving greater revenue and increased client satisfaction. Contact us today to check the status / health of your brand and find out how our data-driven insights can help you achieve greater business success.