US pay-TV expands to 84% of households
Joseph O'Halloran
| 03 September 2014
More than five of every six US TV households (84%) now subscribe to some form of pay-TV service says consumer research from Leichtman Research Group (LRG).

skysports on demandThe analyst believes that the pay-TV industry has been given a spur from growth in US occupied housing, giving a welcome kick to a market that it describes as being 'fairly flat' over the past four years.

The result is that pay-TV penetration among residential households has waned from its peak in 2010 following the digital transition. Yet LRG also found that mean reported monthly spending on pay-TV service was $89.78, a 36% increase since 2009. In addition 12% of cable TV subscribers, 12% of telco TV subscribers, and 11% of satellite TV subscribers were likely to switch from their current provider in the next six months.

"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 levelled-off, while occupied housing in the US has increased," explained LRG president and principal analyst Bruce Leichtman. "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."

Overall, 35% of non-subscribers never subscribed to a pay-TV service. Just over a fifth (22%) of TV households with annual incomes under $50,000 are non-subscribers, compared to 13% of those earning more than this amount. Nearly a quarter of those who moved in the past year do not currently subscribe to a pay-TV service — a higher level than in previous years. Investigating the main reason for not currently subscribing to a pay-TV service, the survey found that 11% of non-subscribers cited online video alternatives, specifically Netflix. This compares with 3% in 2009.

Among TV households that do not currently subscribe to a pay-TV service, 6% plan to subscribe to a pay-TV service in the next six months — including a fifth of those who subscribed in the past year, 2% who subscribed over one year ago, and 4% who never subscribed.