U.S. pay TV homes drop to 75%

According to the Leichtman Research Group, 75% of TV households nationwide subscribe to some form of live pay TV service. The percentage of TV households that subscribe to a ...

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According to the Leichtman Research Group, 75% of TV households nationwide subscribe to some form of live pay TV service. The percentage of TV households that subscribe to a live pay TV (cable, satellite, telco, or Internet-delivered) service is down from 84% in 2014, 87% in 2009, and 81% in 2004.

Mean reported spending on pay TV service among subscribers is $109.60 per month, an increase of about 6% since 2016. Including non-subscribers, mean spending on pay TV across all households is about $80 per month, a figure that is slightly lower than the per household spending in 2015.

The findings are based on a telephone survey of 1,115 households from throughout the United States, and are part of LRG's "Pay TV in the U.S. 2019" study, its 17th annual study of the topic.

Other findings indicate:

  • 60% of pay TV subscribers have a bundle of services from a provider, compared to 67% in 2014.
  • 83% of adults ages 45+ have a pay TV service, compared to 64% of ages 18-44.
  • 87% of households with three or more TVs have a pay TV service, compared to 75% with two TVs and 52% with one TV.
  • 47% of all TV sets in use have a pay TV providers' set-top box, marking the first year since 2010 that set-tops have been connected to less than half of all TVs.
  • 27% of TV households have an over-the-air TV antenna, including 53% among pay TV non-subscribers.
  • 54% of TV households have both a pay TV service and an SVOD service, 21% only have a pay TV service, 20% only have an SVOD service, and about 5% have neither pay TV nor SVOD.

"Three-quarters of households that use a TV currently subscribe to a pay TV service. This is similar to the total receiving an SVOD service," said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for LRG. "With more options for watching live and on-demand video, consumers are increasingly choosing to cobble together the services that meet the viewing and economic needs of their household."        

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