TV Households With Pay-TV Revert To 2005 Levels


According to a report released Friday by Durham, N.C.-basedĀ Leichtman Research Group, the percentage of television households nationwide that subscribe to some form of pay-TV service has reverted to levels not seen since 2005 — a sign that “cord-cutting” is a reality and is starting to impact MSOs.

Leichtman data show some 82% of TV households nationwide as subscribing to some form of pay-TV service. That’s down from 87% in 2011, and mirrors theĀ 82% seen in 2005.

Among TV households that do not currently subscribe to a pay-TV service, 14% of non-subscribers paid for a service in the past year.

Overall, about 2.6% of TV households paid to subscribe to a traditional pay-TV service in the past year, but currently do not — compared to 2.5% in 2015, 3% in 2014, 1.5% in 2011, and 2% in 2006.

While the percentage of those who stopped subscribing to a service in the past year is similar to last year, and to a decade ago, the study found that about 1% of pay-TV subscribers were new to the category in the past year. This compares to 1% in 2015, 1% in 2011, and about 3.5% in 2006.

These findings are based on a telephone survey of 1,206 households from across the U.S. and are a part of the LRG study “Cable, DBS & Telcos: Competing for Customers 2016.”

This is LRG’s fourteenth annual study on the topic. Among the report’s other highlights:

  • The average monthly household pay-TV bill has surpassed the $100 mark. Reported monthly spending came in at $103.10. This reflects an increase of 4% in the past year, and Leichtman notes this is the lowest annual increase in five years.
  • Some 6% of pay-TV subscribers are likely to disconnect from their provider and not subscribe to any TV service in the next six months. This is slightly less than in 2015 (7%).
  • 25% of those who moved in the past year do not currently subscribe to a pay-TV service — a higher level than in previous years.
  • 12% of pay-TV subscribers are likely to switch from their provider in the next six months — similar to 11% in 2015, and 12% in 2014.

Leichtman Research Group president Bruce Leichtman said, “The rates of those exiting the category, or intending to leave, are actually similar to recent years. The decline in penetration is also due to a lack of those who are coming into the category, and the industry not keeping pace with movers and related rental housing growth.”

Leichtman Research Group specializes in research and analysis on the broadband, media and entertainment industries.


  1. The cable companies did it to themselves; and they lost me years ago. Horrible customer service, mostly, (but not always) reliable service, rising costs, added fees, and rented boxes are all part of it. They could have done a lot better, but that would bite into their profits and that goes against their philosophy of getting as much money as quickly as possible with as little investment as possible.

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