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U.S Pay TV Penetration To Slip Below 50% By 2026

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(Image credit: iStock)

LONDON—A new forecast from Digital TV Research is predicting that pay TV sub losses will be lower in the next five years than they have been in recent years. But that pay TV penetration will still drop below 50% in 2026 and that pay TV subs will fall to about 60 million in 2027. 

That marks a huge decline from 2010, when pay TV penetration stood at 91% and there were 105 million pay TV subs, and a significant decline from 2021, when pay TV penetration was about 60%. 

It also highlights a huge financial loss for operators. The report noted that pay TV revenues peaked in 2014, at $101 billion. A $48 billion decline is forecast between 2014 and 2027; halving the total to $53 billion.

The author of the report, Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, explained that  “The U.S. lost 6 million pay TV subscribers each year from 2019 to 2021. Losses will decrease from now on, but the 2027 total will be 12 million lower than 2021.”

The number of households without a pay TV subscription will rocket from 11.34 million in 2010 to 72.86 million in 2027 due mainly to cord-cutting.

For more information on the “North America Pay TV Forecasts” report, contact: Simon Murray, at simon@digitaltvresearch.com.

(Image credit: Digital TV Research)
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George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.