60% of American Households Have Both Pay TV and Streaming Subscriptions

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Not that we need another study to confirm this, but new numbers from Leichtman Research Group reinforce what we can already see – cable’s numbers keep slipping.

According to new data from Leichtman, traditional pay television (either cable or satellite) is now in less than 66% of American homes. While many people are simply cutting cable for on-demand streaming, the recent decline is largely due to a rise in “streaming live” services like Hulu with Live and Sling TV.

Of course, the percentage of homes that get live television period (either cable or internet based) is also declining – down from 85% in 2015 to 74% in 2020, even further showing a trend towards on-demand television.

Among homes that do still have traditional pay television though, the vast majority – 79% – also carry an SVOD service. If you consider people with internet-based live TV, that number jumps to 96%. When you combine both pay TV and streaming, 60% of homes carry both. That shows that even for people who want the old cable experience, streaming is still a big part of their overall media consumption.

As you’d expect, the vast majority of pay TV customers (either cable or internet) are age 55 and older, with 81% of people in that age ponying up the monthly fee.

While this study isn’t breaking any new ground, it’s always good to get an update to see where the numbers stand. This particular data set was a part of Leichtman’s 2020 “Pay TV in the US” study, their 18th annual look at this area.

Maybe the most interesting stat from this research though, is the fact that 33% of people who do not currently have a pay TV service did have one within the past 3 years. So no matter how you approach the data, it’s not a great outlook for cable.

This data comes from a telephone study conducted by Leichtman Research Group, a firm that focuses on data regarding the broadband, media, and entertainment industries. Around 2,000 households participated. 

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