US pay TV homes fall to 83%

Some 83% of all US households subscribe to a pay TV service, down from 87% in 2010 but up compared to the 2005 figure of 81%, according to new research.

The Leichtman Research Group study claims that while the total number of subscribers to the main pay TV providers at the end of the second quarter is similar to the Q2 2010 total, an increase in occupied housing means that pay TV penetration in residential households has decreased.

However, the mean reported monthly spending on US pay TV services was found to be US$99.10 – an increase of 39% compared to 2010.

Some 70% of TV households that do not subscribe to a pay TV service said that they had either never done so, or last subscribed more than three years ago. Roughly 17% said they had cut their service in the past year.

As a percentage of all TV households, 2.5% said they had cut their pay TV subscription in the past year, compared to 1.5% in 2010 and 2.3% in 2005.

“Changes in the dynamics of the pay TV industry are not driven just by those exiting the category, but also those coming into the category,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group.

“Historically, consumers have gone in and out of the pay TV category, primarily for economic reasons. While the rate of those leaving is actually similar to a decade ago, those who are entering or re-entering themarket has decreased over time, and the industry is not keeping pace with rental housing growth.”

The research found that 23% of people who rent their property and own a TV don’t subscribe to a pay TV service, compared to 12% of home-owners. “Renters are more likely to be non-subscribers than in any year since 2006,” according to the research.

A total of 5% of all households were found to be pay TV non-subscribers with both an SVoD service and an over-the-air antenna. Some 4% of all households are pay TV nonsubscribers with SVOD but no over-the-air antenna.