71% of U.S. TV households have a live pay TV service

Tuesday, October 26th, 2021 
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71% of TV Households Have a Live Pay-TV Service

  • Pay-TV Penetration Varies Across Age Groups

DURHAM, NH — New consumer research from Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG) finds that 71% of TV households nationwide have some form of pay-TV service. The percentage of TV households that have a live pay-TV service (via cable, satellite, Telco, or Internet-delivered vMVPD) is down from 82% in 2016, 87% in 2011, and 86% in 2006.

Reflecting this decline, in TV households 64% of adults ages 18-44 and 77% of ages 45+ have a pay-TV service. Comparatively, in 2016, 77% of adults ages 18-44 and 86% of ages 45+ had a pay-TV service.

These findings are based on a survey of 2,000 households from throughout the United States, and are part of a new LRG study, Pay-TV in the U.S. 2021. This is LRG’s nineteenth annual study on this topic.

Other related findings include:

  • 41% of those that moved in the past year do not currently have a pay-TV service – a higher level than in previous years
  • 35% of renters do not have a pay-TV service – compared to 25% of homeowners
  • 30% of pay-TV non-subscribers last had a pay-TV service within the past 3 years, 36% last had a pay-TV service >3 years ago, and 34% never had a pay-TV service
  • 54% of pay-TV non-subscribers that never had a service are ages 18-34 – while 28% of non-subscribers that formerly had pay-TV are in that age range
  • 26% of adults agree that it is OK to use a friend’s log-in passwords to watch live TV, including 40% of ages 18-34
  • 37% of all TV sets in use have a traditional pay-TV providers’ set-top box – compared to 58% in 2016

“The percent of U.S. TV households with a live pay-TV service significantly declined from 82% to 71% over the past five years,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc. “The penetration of pay-TV remains lowest among younger adults and the categories that they tend to populate, including movers and renters.”

Links: Leichtman Research