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One-Quarter of U.S. Pay TV Customers Changed Service in Past Year

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Nearly a quarter of U.S. pay TV subscribers made changes to their service in the last 12 months, says market research firm Parks Associates. That data comes from the firm's Q3 2015 report 360 View: Entertainment Services in U.S. Broadband Households. But the data doesn't show people fleeing their expensive subscriptions: Upgrades were roughly equal to downgrades.

Parks found that 11 percent of subscribers downgraded service in the past 12 months, while 9 percent upgraded. It also found that 4 percent of consumers signed on to a pay TV service for the first time, and that 8 percent switched to a different provider.

With the number of streaming devices in a household rising and HD video an essential, broadband speeds are more important. Parks found that 10 percent of U.S. households with a broadband connection plan on upgrading their service to a faster speed. Also, 4 percent will downgrade their speed to save some money. Also, 13 percent were boosted to a higher bandwidth speed by their provider without paying a higher price. Roughly a quarter of those switched broadband providers in order to get faster service at a comparable price.

While streaming alternatives are gaining in popularity, pay TV services are holding strong: Parks says that 87 percent of U.S. broadband-enabled homes subscribed to a pay TV service in Q3 2011, and 85 percent did so in Q2 2015.

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