Pay-TV Penetration Down Only Slightly From 2015 As Cord-Cutting Rates Remain Flat

September 29, 2016

This article is included in these additional categories:

Pay-TV & Cord-Cutting | Television

lrg-pay-tv-penetration-rate-2010-2016-sept2016Some 82% of TV households in the US subscribe to a pay-TV service, reports the Leichtman Research Group (LRG) in a new study, down only slightly from 83% last year. In fact, while pay-TV adoption is down from 87% as recently as 2011, it remains on par with levels from 2005.

That result is despite increasing cord-cutting in the past few years, as separately reported by LRG.

Still, as we have previously calculated, the actual number of subscriber losses amounts to just a small percentage of the overall pay-TV audience. LRG’s new survey data supports that conclusion: this year’s results indicate that 2.6% of TV households subscribed to a pay-TV service last year but currently do not, with that level consistent with recent years (2.5% last year; 3% in 2014; 1.5% in 2011; and 2% in 2006). In other words, while cord-cutting may be making a dent in the overall pay-TV universe, it’s not yet a huge one. (A growing number of cord-nevers may be a larger problem…)

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In other highlights from the LRG report:

  • About 6% of TV households have never subscribed to a pay-TV service;
  • 1 in 4 survey respondents who moved in the past year do not currently subscribe to a pay-TV service, up from 1 in 5 in last year’s study;
  • About 1 in 8 (12%) pay-TV subscribers say they’re likely to switch from their provider in the next 6 months, relatively on par with 11% last year and 12% in 2014;
  • Some 6% of subscribers report being likely to cancel their service and not subscribe to any in the next 6 months, also relatively flat from 7% in 2015 and 2014 (OTT-like user interfaces could prevent such moves, per recent research); and
  • The average reported amount of monthly spending on pay-TV increased by 4% to $103.10, the smallest rate of increase in 5 years.

About the Data: LRG notes that “Cable, DBS & Telcos: Competing for Customers 2016 is based on a telephone survey of 1,206 adults age 18+ from throughout the continental US. The random sample of respondents was distributed and weighted to best reflect the demographic and geographic make-up of the US. The telephone survey (including landline and cell phone calls) was conducted in August 2016. The overall sample has a statistical margin of error of +/- 2.8%.”

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