Research: US pay-TV homes continue decline

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Consumer research from Leichtman Research Group finds that about 78 per cent of US TV households subscribe to some form of pay-TV service. The percentage of TV households that subscribe to a pay-TV service is down from 86 per cent in 2013, 87 per cent in 2008, and 81 per cent in 2004.

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

These findings are based on a telephone survey of 1,152 households from throughout the United States, and are part of a new LRG study, Pay-TV in the U.S. 2018. This is LRG’s sixteenth annual study of this topic.

Other related findings include:

  • 32 per cent 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 per cent using one TV at home are non-subscribers – compared to 23 per cent using two TVs, and 12 per cent using three or more TVs
  • 27 per cent of TV households with annual incomes <$50,000 do not subscribe to a pay-TV service, compared to 20 per cent with annual incomes >$50,000
  • Overall, about 7 per cent of TV households last subscribed to a pay-TV service in the past three years, 7 per cent last subscribed to a pay-TV service over three years ago, and about 8 per cent never subscribed to a pay-TV service
  • Mean reported monthly spending on pay-TV service among subscribers is about $107 – an increase of 1 per cent in the past year

“About 78 per cent of households that use a TV currently subscribe to a pay-TV service, yet pay-TV subscriptions are not consistent across demographic group,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group. “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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