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Less than 50% of US Households Will Have a Pay TV Subscription by 2023

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Less than 50% of US Households Will Have a Pay TV Subscription by 2023

3 Min Read

Pay TV has been dropping in viewer numbers as more and more households cut the cord on their cable subscriptions. According to a new article from eMarketer, between the years of 2016 and 2021 this channel lost more than 50 million adult viewers, with the sharpest drop during the pandemic’s first year in 2020, at 7.7%. And we can expect that trend to continue—by the end of 2023, eMarketer estimates that less than half of US households will have a traditional pay TV subscription. That will bring the total number of households that still have pay TV to 65.1 million (a 4.8% decrease in one year).

eMarketer attributes this drop in traditional TV households to the increased interest for streaming content among US viewers. Many cord-cutting households have turned to virtual multichannel video programming distributors (vMVPDs) to consume their favorite TV and movie content. In fact, by the end of 2022, 15 million households will subscribe to a vMVPD—a rise of 7.6% YOY, bringing vMVPDs to 11.4% US households. One of the holdouts of this transition has been live sports viewers, who have in the past stuck to traditional viewing methods. But with a report from Magnite revealing that live sports streaming now accounts for 30% of all Connected TV streaming, it seems that even this audience is turning to streaming to consume content.

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