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Pay TV subscriptions taken by 84% of US homes

Some 84% of US households now subscribe to a pay TV service, with penetration waning from its peak in 2010 following the digital transition, according to new research.

The Leichtman Research Group study said that though the reported number of pay TV subscribers has remained fairly flat over the past four years, occupied housing in the US has grown causing a decline in pay TV penetration among residential households.

Among non-subscribers, 11% cited the internet or Netflix as the main reasons for not subscribing to a pay TV service, compared to 3% in 2009. Meanwhile, 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.

“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,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group.

“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.”

Among TV households that do not currently subscribe to a pay TV service, 6% said they do plan to subscribe in the next six months.

The mean reported monthly spend on a pay TV service was US$89.78, up 36% compared to 2009.