U.S. Households With Pay-TV Services Drops to 75%, Says LRG

DURHAM, N.H.—Three out of every four homes in the U.S. subscribe to a pay-TV service, per new research from Leichtman Research Group, a significant drop from the reach pay-TV had 10 years ago when it was in nearly 90% of homes.

The new study, “Pay-TV in the U.S. 2019,” reveals that in 2009, according to LRG, 87% of homes had pay-TV service. That number dropped to 84% in 2014, and now sits at 75%. Almost an equal number of homes, 74%, subscribe to some kind of SVOD service as of 2019. LRG reports that 54% of homes have some kind of combination of pay-TV and SVOD, while 21% only have pay-TV and 20% only have SVOD; 5% have neither.

“With more options for watching live and on-demand video, consumers are increasingly choosing to cobble together the services that meet the viewing and economic needs of their household,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group.

Despite the drop in the number of subscribers, the mean reported spending on pay-TV is leveling off. For those who have pay-TV services, they are averaging a bill of $109.60 per month, a 6% increase since 2016. In total, including those who do not subscribe to pay-TV, that average is about $80 per month, slightly lower than the per household spending in 2015.

Other findings from LRG include that pay-TV subscribers that bundle services from a provider has dropped from 67% in 2014 to 60%. Pay-TV is more popular among older individuals, with 83% of those 45 and older subscribing to pay-TV compared to 64% for 18-44 year olds. It also shows that the more TVs a home has the more likely they are to subscribe to pay-TV—homes with three or more TVs are pay-TV subscribers 87% of the time, 75% with two TVs and 52% with one TV.

2019 also marked the first year since 2010 that less than half (47%) of TV sets in use were connected to a pay-TV providers’ set-top box. Meanwhile, over-the-air antennas are in use at 27% of TV households, including 53% in homes that are not pay-TV subscribers.

The full “Pay-TV in the U.S. 2019” report is available on LRG’s website.