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U.S. Pay-TV Households Drop to 2005 Level

28 Sep, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel

The pay-TV ecosystem continues to shrink, with the percentage of domestic households subscribing to the linear channel bundle down to 82% — the same percentage of pay-TV homes in 2005, according to new data from Leichtman Research Group. Pay-TV household penetration was 87% in 2011.

About 14% of households not subscribing to pay-TV did subscribe last year. The number of subs dropping service is similar to last year and to a decade ago. The data is based on a phone survey of 1,206 households.

About 3% of respondents last subscribed to pay-TV service one-to-three years ago, about 6% subscribed over three years ago, and about 6% never subscribed. Another 25% of those who moved in the past year do not currently subscribe to a pay-TV service — a higher level than in previous years.

Notably, monthly spending on pay-TV service is $103.10 — an increase of 4% in the past year, but the lowest annual increase in five years.

"The rates of those exiting the category, or intending to leave, are actually similar to recent years. The decline in penetration is also due to a lack of those who are coming into the category, and the industry not keeping pace with movers and related rental housing growth,” Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for LRG, said in a statement.

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