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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Last year was the worst in history for cord-cutting, according to a new analysis out Tuesday from MoffettNathanson.

The state of play: Pay-TV lost 6 million subscribing households in 2020, "with total subscriptions falling by 7.3% over the course of the year, and with penetration dropping to a level not seen in nearly thirty years."

The big picture: A culmination of events over the past week signals that traditional TV is on its last legs.

  1. Cable operators are ditching cable. Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei said in a CNBC interview that "it’s just a question of time" until cable's ultimate demise. Last week, AT&T agreed to a deal with private equity giant TPF to spin off its U.S. video business, including DirecTV.
  2. Smart TV companies are booming: Smart TV maker Vizio said in its IPO filing that its SmartCast smart TV operating system has millions of users. Roku had its best year ever last year, posting a profit on record revenues.
  3. Ad dollars are moving faster to digital: Roku is acquiring Nielsen's advanced TV advertising division as it works to help traditional television ad dollars migrate more quickly to streaming. Digital ad tech stocks like Trade Desk are booming thanks to a growing interest in targeted advertising on televisions.

The big picture: Advanced TV ad buying, or "audience-based" ad buying, only accounts for roughly 10% of the $70 billion TV advertising market today.

Data: eMarketer; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Go deeper

Updated Mar 1, 2021 - Economy & Business

Roku to acquire Nielsen's advanced TV advertising division

Photo Illustration by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Roku on Monday announced that it is acquiring Nielsen's advanced TV advertising division as it works to help traditional television ad dollars migrate more quickly to streaming.

Why it matters: The deal will give Roku, the top smart TV operating system in the U.S., access to the technology it needs to help grow the digital TV advertising landscape broadly.

Updated 6 hours ago - World

Biden in call with Netanyahu raises concerns about civilian casualties in Gaza

Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images

President Biden spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Saturday and raised concerns about civilian casualties in Gaza and the bombing of the building that housed AP and other media offices, according to Israeli officials.

The big picture: At least 140 Palestinians, including dozens of children, have been killed in Gaza since fighting between Israel and Hamas began Monday, according to Palestinian health officials. Nine people, including two children, have been killed by Hamas rockets in Israel.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

"Horrified": AP, Al Jazeera condemn Israel's bombing of their offices in Gaza

A ball of fire erupts from the Jalaa Tower as it is destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza. Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Associated Press and Al Jazeera on Saturday condemned the Israeli airstrike that destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza that housed their and other media offices.

What they're saying: The White House, meanwhile, said it had "communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility," according to press secretary Jen Psaki.