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84% Of U.S. Homes Take Pay-TV: Study

About 84% of U.S. homes subscribe to some form of pay-TV service, a figure that factors in occupied housing growth, Leichtman Research Group found it its 12th-annual study of the video sector.

The study, Cable, DBS & Telcos: Competing for Customers 2014, notes that penetration of pay-TV among residential households has waned from its peak in 2010 following the broadcast TV digital transition. Notably, LRG reported recently that the number of cable broadband subscribers surpassed cable pay-TV subs in the second quarter of 2014.

“The number of pay-TV subscribers in the US remains about as high as it has ever been, but penetration of pay-TV services in consumers’ homes has declined over the past few years as subscriber growth has leveled-off, while occupied housing in the US has increased,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for LRG, in a statement. “Housing growth has been exclusively among renters, who tend to be more challenging for the pay-TV industry than home owners because of their comparatively lower income, younger age, and greater likelihood to move."

The study, based on a survey of 1,260 U.S. households conducted in June and July, also found that 6% of those who don’t currently subscribe to a pay-TV service plan to in the next six months – including 20% of those who subscribed in the past year, 2% who subscribed over one year ago, and 4% who have never subscribed.

Overall, 35% of households that don’t take pay-TV have never subscribed to a pay-TV service, LRG said.

Other notables from LRG’s study:

- 22% of TV homes with annual incomes of less than $50,000 are non-subscribers, versus 13% with incomes of greater than $50,000.

-The mean reported monthly spending on pay-TV service is $89.78 – an increase of 36% since 2009.

-12% of cable TV subscribers, 12% of telco TV subscribers, and 11% of satellite TV subscribers are likely to switch from their current provider in the next six months.

-11% of non-subscribers cite the Internet or Netflix as the main reason for not currently subscribing to a pay-TV service – compared to 3% in 2009

-22% of those who moved in the past year do not currently subscribe to a pay-TV service – a higher level than in previous years.