Number of US TV households with pay TV down to 79%

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017 
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79% Of TV Households Subscribe To A Pay-TV Service

  • About Two-Thirds of Non-Subscribers had Pay-TV in the Past

DURHAM, NH — New consumer research from Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG) finds that about 79% of TV households nationwide subscribe to some form of pay-TV service. The percentage of TV households that subscribe to a pay-TV service is down from 84% in 2014, 88% in 2010, and 81% in 2004.

Among TV households that do not currently subscribe to a pay-TV service, about two-thirds were former pay-TV subscribers, while one-third never had pay-TV. Overall, about 7% of TV households subscribed to a pay-TV service in the past three years, 7% last subscribed to pay-TV over three years ago, and about 7% never subscribed to a pay-TV service.

These findings are based on a telephone survey of 1,201 households from throughout the United States, and are part of a new LRG study, Pay-TV in the U.S. 2017. This is LRG’s fifteenth annual study of this topic.

Other related findings include:

  • 29% of TV households with annual incomes < $50,000 do not subscribe to a pay-TV service, compared to 16% with household incomes >$50,000
  • 30% of those that moved in the past year do not currently subscribe to a pay-TV service — a higher level than in previous years
  • 39% using one TV at home are non-subscribers — compared to 24% using two TVs, and 12% using three or more TVs
  • 10% of non-subscribers plan to subscribe to a pay-TV service in the next six months — including 24% that had a pay-TV service in the past year, 7% that subscribed over a year ago, and 7% that never subscribed
  • 13% of pay-TV subscribers are likely to switch in the next six months — compared to 12% in 2016 and 11% in 2012
  • Mean reported monthly spending on pay-TV service among subscribers is about $106 — an increase of 3% in the past year
  • 92% of TV households have a pay-TV service and/or an over-the-air antenna — compared to 94% in 2015

“About 79% of households that use a TV currently subscribe to a pay-TV service. This is down from the peak in pay-TV penetration at the start of the decade, and represents the first time since the early 2000s that fewer than four-in-five TV households get a pay-TV service,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc. “The decline in pay-TV penetration is not solely a function of recent disconnects. Among those that do not currently get a pay-TV service, about one-third subscribed in the past three years, one-third subscribed over three years ago, and one-third never subscribed.”

Links: Leichtman Research