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Worst of North American cord-cutting is over, but losses still on the horizon

The number of pay TV subscribers in North America will continue to drop, but subscriber losses will slow in the coming years.

According to Digital TV Research, the number of pay TV subscribers in Canada and the US will fall by 43 million from 116 million in the peak year of 2010 to 74 million in 2026. Of that total, the US will lose 41 million, with Canada down by nearly 2 million. 

As a result, pay TV penetration across the two countries will drop from 90.5% in 2010 to 53.6% by 2026. Revenues meanwhile will drop from the 2015 peak of US$111 billion to US$62 billion in 2026 – a drop of US$49 billion.

Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said: “The worst of the cord-cutting is over. Declines will be lower from 2021, falling by 16 million in total between 2020 and 2026. “Only” 5 million digital cable TV subscribers will be lost. Satellite TV will fall by 7.5 million and IPTV by 3.4 million subscribers.”