Pay TV penetration down to 78%

Oct. 31, 2018
According to the Leichtman Research Group, about 78% of TV households nationwide subscribe to some form of pay TV service. The ...

According to the Leichtman Research Group, about 78% 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 86% in 2013, 87% in 2008, and 81% in 2004.

In TV households, 70% of adults ages 18-44 and 84% of ages 45+ subscribe to a pay TV service. Comparatively, in 2013, 83% of adults ages 18-44 and 88% of ages 45+ had a pay TV service.

The findings are based on a telephone survey of 1,152 households from throughout the United States, and are part of LRG's 16th annual study of the topic.

Other findings indicate:

  • 32% of those that moved in the past year do not currently subscribe to a pay TV service, a higher level than in previous years.
  • 44% using one TV at home are non-subscribers, compared to 23% using two TVs and 12% using three or more TVs.
  • 27% of TV households with annual incomes of less than $50,000 do not subscribe to a pay TV service, compared to 20% with annual incomes of more than $50,000.
  • Overall, about 7% of TV households last subscribed to a pay TV service in the past three years, 7% last subscribed to a pay TV service more than three years ago, and about 8% have never subscribed to a pay TV service.
  • Mean reported monthly spending on pay TV service among subscribers is about $107, an increase of 1% in the past year.

"About 78% of households that use a TV currently subscribe to a pay TV service, yet pay TV subscriptions are not consistent across demographic groups," said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for LRG. "The penetration of pay TV among younger individuals and related groups, including renters, singles and movers, has declined at a faster pace in recent years, expanding demographic divides in pay TV."

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