Netflix Pulls Even With Pay TV as Cord Cutting Continues

A new survey shows that use of Netflix among American consumers is now even with cable TV.

PricewaterhouseCoopers released the results of its annual study on Americans' relationship with video media. The survey was done in October, with 1,986 Americans, aged 18-49 and with annual income households above $40,000, responding.

Of those polled, 73 percent subscribe to Pay TV, down three percent from 2016. But 73 percent also subscribe to Netflix. That means the same number of people who use cable TV also use the streaming service. Notably, 82 percent of sports fans say they would drop cable TV if they didn't need it to watch live sports.

Since 2015, the number of cord-trimmers has increased. In 2015, 18 percent of those polled were cord trimmers, meaning they haven't completely ended their cable subscriptions. That number jumped to 23 percent in 2016 and to 27 percent in 2017. Nineteen percent of those polled completely cut their cable subscriptions.

While the increase in streaming subscriptions should concern the cable companies, there were results that should pique Netflix and Hulu's attention. A third of those polled said they do not keep a subscription after a trial period is over. A whopping 81 percent also said they share passwords with friends and family. The top reason for ending a subscription was "I didn't use it enough."

The study also shows that it would be incredibly difficult for a new service to attract viewers because cord-cutters and trimmers don't subscribe to too many. Three-quarters of consumers said they "can't handle using more" than four streaming services plus cable television.

The one bright spot for cable TV companies is that live sports is still a top reason for subscribers to stay. Eighty-one percent of sports fans still subscribe to cable TV and 91 percent of them say they pay for cable to have access to live games. Amazon has tried to attract sports fans by adding live NFL games, but so far they only have Thursday Night Football broadcasts.