In broadcast television, cord-cutting refers to the pattern of viewers, referred to as cord-cutters, cancelling their subscriptions to multichannel television services available over cable or satellite, dropping pay television channels or reducing the number of hours of subscription TV viewed in response to competition from rival media available over the Internet. This content is either free or significantly cheaper than the same content provided via cable.
The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with North America and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (April 2019)
As a market trend, a growing number of "cord cutters" do not pay for subscription television in favor of some combination of broadband Internet and IPTV, digital video recorders, digital terrestrial television and/or free-to-air satellite television broadcasts. A related group, the cord-nevers, have never used commercial cable for television service, relying on internet sources from the start. A number of purely internet television services, part of the wider IPTV concept, have emerged to cater to these groups.
In the third and fourth quarters of 2018, 1.1 million subscribers in the United States left traditional satellite and cable in favor of internet based streaming television. This decline continued into the first quarter of 2019 as cable and satellite lost 1.4 million subscribers.