More than two-thirds of U.S. households still have pay TV: Leichtman

Cord cutting, schmord cutting. A new study from the Leichtman Research Group suggests that 71% of U.S. households still have pay TV.

However, the new figure—which accounts for cable, telco, satellite and internet-delivered virtual MVPDs—still represents a significant decline from penetration rates five years ago. The research firm said this latest percentage is down from 82% in 2016, 87% in 2011 and 86% in 2006.

Leichtman further broke down the declines by age groups and found that in TV households 64% of adults ages 18-44 and 77% of ages 45 and older have a pay TV service. That’s down from 2016 when 77% of adults ages 18-44 and 86% of ages 45 and older had a pay TV service.

“The percent of U.S. TV households with a live pay TV service significantly declined from 82% to 71% over the past five years,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, in a statement. “The penetration of pay TV remains lowest among younger adults and the categories that they tend to populate, including movers and renters.”

RELATED: Cord cutting took top pay TV providers for 1.2M subs in Q2

Leichtman’s other findings suggest that 41% of those that moved in the past year and that 35% of renters do not currently have a pay TV service. The firm also found that 30% of pay TV non-subscribers last had a pay TV service within the past three years, and that 54% of pay TV non-subscribers that never had a service are ages 18-34, seemingly confirming that younger crowds are more likely to abandon pay TV.

Leichtman’s new look at pay TV household penetration rates comes after a second quarter of improved pay TV subscriber losses. The company said the largest pay TV providers in the U.S.—representing about 95% of the market—lost roughly 1,230,000 net video subscribers during the second quarter, about 275,000 fewer than the 1,505,000 subscribers lost in the same quarter of 2020.