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US pay-TV ARPU dropped 10% in two years

US standalone pay-TV ARPU is in an ongoing period of decline, says new research.

According to the report 360 View: Entertainment Services in the US from Pars Associates, ARPU from pay-TV in the country declined by 10% from 2016 to 2018. 

Average household monthly spend on pay-TV dropped from US$84 (€76) to US$76 (€69).

The report also says that self-reported expenditures on non-pay-TV home video entertainment also declined 30% per month over the past seven years. This peaked in 2014 at nearly US$40 (€36) to slightly over US$20 (€18) at the end of 2018. 

Spending on internet video is the only category to hold steady throughout the time frame, staying at US$8-9 (€7-8) per month since 2014.

Elizabeth Parks, president of Parks Associates said: “Traditional pay-TV providers (MVPDs) have faced continued subscriber losses due to increasing consumer choice from OTT services, so they are deploying skinny bundles and vMVPD services to create more choice among viewers.

“For pay-TV service providers, traditional and online, they are exploring new areas in content ownership and development, and to be successful in these efforts, understanding consumer activity and motivation related to adoption and use of their services is critical.”

Brett Sappington, senior research director and principal analyst at Parks Associates added: “Subscription online video is the only growth category for consumer-paid video entertainment beyond pay TV. Operators, struggling with declining ARPU for standalone pay-TV services, are anxious to leverage this trend. 

“Operators are taking differing approaches. Some, including Comcast and DISH, are offering subscriptions to third-party OTT video services and are integrating them into their discovery interfaces. Partnering gives operators a chance to serve as content aggregator, a familiar position. Others, including AT&T and DISH, are expanding their competitive reach online and have introduced vMVPD services.”