The number of pay-TV households in the US has reached its peak in the last two years and is now projected to decline from nearly 101mn in 2012 to less than 95mn in 2017, according to US research firm The Diffusion Group.
There are however a number of presuppositions to this forecast however, including the assumption that US TV operators forgo à la carte channel offerings, which can be taken as a near certainty.
“I happen to believe that operators will not wake up to the fact that the market demands à la carte – at least not in time to avoid the decline illustrated above,” says Michael Greeson, founding partner of The Diffusion Group.
Greeson goes on to say that the loss of six million subscribers over the next five years is “hardly the end of the world” for pay-TV, but questions whether it represents a paradigm shift, a tipping point in the evolution of television viewing that will have “long-term tectonic implications”.
While most research houses are forecasting similar declines for the US pay-TV industry, not all operators will be affected equally: telcos are expected to lead growth over the next five years at the expense of their cable and satellite rivals, according to Parks Associates.
Despite these sombre predictions for the sector as a whole, pay-TV does continue to dominate the US home entertainment industry, with 86% of homes paying a regular fee to receive linear TV broadcasts, and revenues rising 4.3% in 2011 to reach US$ 94bn in total, says Futuresource Consulting.