Report: 25 per cent of U.S. households forgo pay TV subscriptions


A new report from market research firm GfK shows that 25 per cent of U.S. households rely on over-the-air (OTA) or internet-only subscriptions to receive TV content.

OTA-only households represent 17 per cent of all U.S. households – up from 15 per cent in 2015. Six per cent of households rely on internet-only subscriptions – consuming TV content only via a mix of YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and other services – up from four per cent in 2015.

“The fact that a statistically significant increase in broadcast-only reception occurred over just one year may be further proof that the cord-cutting/cord-never phenomenon is accelerating,” says David Tice, svp in GfK’s media & entertainment practice. “If you include homes that have no TVs at all – about three per cent of all households – then less than three quarters (73 per cent) of U.S. homes continue to have pay TV service, with the attendant implications for all stakeholders – not just the pay TV services themselves, but also networks, content providers, and advertisers.”

How people consume TV content seems to be increasingly dependent on household income and the age of people in the households. Those households with a resident 18 to 34 are much more likely to cut the cord or have never subscribed to pay TV at all. OTA-only reception is much more likely to be found in households earning under $30,000 per year and those with Hispanic residents; households with residents ages 50 and older are more likely to have satellite subscriptions.

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