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Growth, Decline and Pay TV’s Neat Trick

by User Not Found | 4月 15, 2014

We announced today our latest forecasts for the US pay TV market. If there was a better explanation than the chart below of the contrasting stories we hear about the state of the US pay TV industry, I don’t know what it is. The lines represent the same fundamental data – households with pay TV subscriptions. But the bars are the actual numbers and the line is household penetration. The latter predicts a decline and the former, having been more or less stable for a few years, is expected to grow.


So pay TV providers can look forward to a growing market, while an ever smaller proportion of households are taking their product. If that seems like some kind of neat trick it’s thanks to the predicted growth in the US household population. That’s expected to increase by more than a million a year, while the base of pay TV households will grow more slowly.

 Incidentally, the chart below shows exactly the same data, perhaps more realistically: in the context of the size of the US market the fluctuations are rather small.


 All of which goes to show you could spin the data to tell a number of different stories. Yes, pay TV usage is declining, relative to the total population. Yes, pay TV subscriber numbers are growing. No, there is no massive change in the overall take-up of pay TV across the household population.


Even over a ten-year period there is relatively little change in the big picture, but we clearly see modest growth in the number of homes taking no (traditional) pay TV service. Some of those homes are only using free TV services, some are using a variety of alternative paid-for TV and video sources, some are not using "TV". And that’s another story for another day.


David Mercer



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