We’ll Lose Another 10 Million Pay-TV Households by 2029

Liem Soeng

We’ll Lose Another 10 Million Pay-TV Households by 2029

More bad news for broadcast and cable TV.

Pay-TV households in the U.S. and Canada will fall below 60 million in 2029, a new study by Digital TV Research has found. If analyst Simon Murray is correct, the U.S. alone will barely be on the right side of 50 million pay-TV subs at the end of the 2020s.

It is just the latest evidence of the mighty fall for MVPDs — Multichannel Video Programming Distributor, like Comcast and Charter — especially when you consider where the business was just a decade ago. In 2015, across the U.S. and Canada, there were 111 million pay-TV subs; by 2029, we’ll have lost 46 percent of those homes.

Credit: Digital TV Research

Particulars aside, this handwriting has been on the wall for quite a while.

In November, Insider Intelligence forecast that by the end of 2023, viewers who do not pay for a traditional TV service will outnumber those who do. The combination of U.S. adult cord-cutters and cord-nevers (note: people 18 and over, not households) was expected to be at 144.1 million; the group predicted we’d have 121.1 million pay-TV users.

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In July 2023, linear-TV ceased to be the majority of TV and streaming usage. That month, broadcast television (like CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox) made up exactly 20 percent of total TV and streaming usage; cable channels combined for 29.6 percent, according to Nielsen’s monthly The Gauge report.

Streaming beat both of those individually (but not yet combined) with 38.7 percent; the rest came from non-Nielsen-measured sources, including unmeasured video on-demand (VOD), audio streaming, gaming, and other device use, like DVD playback.

On the bright side, linear has since bounced back to the majority side; in January 2024, broadcast and cable TV accounted for 52.1 percent of television and streaming usage. Just two years prior, linear made up 62 percent of the same usage.

So yeah, this is not exactly the peak of linear TV. Hell, it’s no longer the peak for Peak TV. Ampere Analytics found that just 481 U.S. scripted series were released in 2023. In each of the years prior, 633 U.S. scripted series were released. Evidently, the adults are just realizing what kids have known for years about linear television — it just ain’t where it’s at.

VIA

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