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5 Million US Consumers Expected to Ditch Cable This Year

Sick of shelling out an arm and a leg for cable? You're not alone.

According to a new study from management consultancy cg42, around 5.4 million US consumers will "cut the cord"—aka ditch their cable subscriptions—in 2018, a 685 percent increase compared to 2016. Cable companies are expected to lose $5.5 billion in subscription revenue this year because of this growing trend.

Comcast may lose 7.2 percent of its subscriber base, or around 1.5 million customers this year, costing the company $1.6 billion in revenue, cg42 found. AT&T/DirecTV is expected to lose 4.8 percent of its customers, or more than 1.1 million subscribers for a potential $1.2 billion hit. Cox could lose 7.9 percent of its subscribers, or around 317,000 people, costing the company $324 million.

The online survey of 3,385 US consumers, conducted this past September, revealed that 52 percent of millennial paid TV subscribers have thought about cancelling their cable subscriptions in the past year. Meanwhile, 51 percent of Gen Xers and 35 percent of Boomers have considered it.

High prices are the top frustration driving this trend. Fifty-six percent of survey respondents said cable providers don't offer competitive or reasonable rates. Other common frustrations include having to pay for channels you don't watch, getting "nickeled and dimed with multiple fees and charges," and the fact that new customers are getting better deals than existing ones.

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"Large paid-TV providers like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon cause more customer service-related frustrations among subscribers, yet deliver more reliable services," cg42 wrote in the report. "Smaller paid-TV providers, such as Cox and Cablevision, over index on service quality frustrations, such as 'losing access to channels because of disputes between cable providers and channels' and 'there is too much advertising interrupting my viewing.'"

If you're mulling cutting the cord, consider this: 79 percent of cord cutters polled by cg42 said they were happy with their decision and less than 5 percent plan on returning to paid TV in the next year. Moreover, the average cord cutter saves $85 a month.

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