U.S. Pay TV Penetration Drops, Streaming Services Are Up

Total pay TV providers' penetration of U.S. TV homes dropped in second-quarter 2018 from the same period a year ago, according to Nielsen’s Total Audience Report. That's even when including new virtual pay TV providers.

Total multichannel TV distribution services fell from 82.7% in June 2017 to 80.8% of TV homes.

Virtual pay TV services are now in 3.4% of all U.S. TV homes, up from 1.4%.

Traditional pay TV providers -- cable, satellite and telco providers -- declined from 81.3% to 77.4%.

Over-the-air TV homes grew from 12.6% to 12.9%; broadband only homes are also higher -- from 4.7% to 6.3%. Subscription video-on-demand services -- such as Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime -- are in 66% of TV homes, up from 59% the year before.

U.S. adults 18 years of age and older spend 10 hours/24 minutes per day with all media -- down from the first quarter of 2018 (11 hours/ 6 minutes); fourth quarter 2017 (10 hours/ 47 minutes); and third quarter 2017 (10 hours/30 minutes). Nielsen says seasonality plays a large role here.



Second-quarter 2018 media use for 18- to-34-year-olds was the lowest of any age category -- at 8 hours/8 minutes a day. Those 50 to 64 years old have the highest media use at 11 hours/49 minutes.

U.S adults spend 4 hours/20 minutes with live-plus time-shifted TV (3 hours/49 minutes with live TV; 32 minutes with time-shifted TV). Total video usage -- on computer, TV-connected devices, smartphone and tablets -- brings this up to 5 hours/24 minutes a day. 

App and web use on a smartphone is at 2 hours/19 minutes a day, while radio comes in at 1 hour/45 minutes.

Young TV viewers ages 18 to 34 spend only two hours a day with traditional live TV/time-shifted TV and another 1 hours/10 minutes with TV-connected devices, which include DVD and game consoles. App/web smartphone usage comes in at 2 hours/31 minutes. 

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