OTTU.S. pay-TV penetration has been about flat since reaching a peak in 2010. While 84 percent of U.S. households subscribe to some form of pay-TV service today, that hasn’t kept up with growth in occupied housing, according to new market research from the Leichtman Research Group (LRG).

Six percent of U.S. households that do not currently subscribe to a pay-TV service plan to in the next six months. That includes the 20 percent who subscribed in the past year and four percent who never subscribed, according to LRG’s “Cable, DBS & Telecos: Competing for the Customer 2014.”

The percentage of non-subscribers who never subscribed to a pay-TV service reached 35 percent overall. “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,” Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc., was quoted in a press release.

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“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.”

Average Pay TV Spending
Other key takeaways from LRG’s latest market research report include:

  • Nationwide, 22% of TV households with annual incomes <$50,000 are non-subscribers, compared to 13% with incomes >$50,000;
  • 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.

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