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Only 60% of Homes Will Subscribe to Pay TV By 2030, Says TDG

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The traditional pay TV industry currently reaches 81 percent of U.S. households. Look for that number to shrink to 60 percent in 2030, forecasts TDG Research. While multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) aren't going away, they no longer enjoy the near-universal penetration they once did.

One reason is the rise of virtual MVPDs, such as Sling TV and DirecTV Now. Currently, 4 percent of U.S. households have a subscription, but that will grow to 14 percent in 2030.

In the on-demand future, live TV services of any kind won't be as important for many households, and many will prefer subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) options, such as Netflix and Hulu. TDG says 85 percent of U.S. households currently subscribe to a live multi-channel service, but only 79 percent will in 2030. That year, 30 million U.S. households won't subscribe to a live multichannel service of any kind.

While these changes will have many consumers paying less for their entertainment, TDG warns they could spell trouble for the industry:

"Consumers now perceive virtual multi-channel video providers (vMVPDs) almost exclusively as a low-cost value alternative to legacy pay TV services. This results in two key effects," TDG says. "First, vMVPD services can appeal to those consumers that have never subscribed to legacy services (i.e., cord nevers). This is an obviously net positive for the pay TV ecosystem as a whole. Second, however, vMVPD services cannibalize (at minimum) the value segment of the legacy market, driving down both channel selection and ARPUs for entry-level services. This is an obvious net negative for the pay TV ecosystem, as it risks fueling a 'race to the bottom.'"

For more data, TDG's "The Rise of the Virtual Pay TV Provider—Analysis and Forecast" is available for purchase.

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