Although traditional pay TV systems have been severely impacted by cord-cutting, legacy cable, satellite, telco and virtual services still command 71% of TV households, according to new research from Leichtman Research Group.
That said, this number is down from 82% in 2016.
One additional motivation for the decline is consumers who have moved recently.
Forty-one percent of those that moved in the past year do not currently have a pay-TV service — a higher level than in previous years, according to the authors.
The report notes what other surveys have confirmed: Younger consumers of pay TV are leaving, while older TV consumers remain.
Sixty-four percent of 18- to-44-year-olds in TV homes have a pay TV service, compared to 77% five years ago.
Nearly 80% of older TV households -- those 45 years or older -- still have a pay service.
Other research shows that U.S consumers are not completely abandoning pay TV. Rather, they are adding new streaming services to their home TV services.
The Leichtman results come from a September-October survey of 2,000 U.S. households, with adults 18 years and older.
The random sample of respondents was distributed and weighted to best reflect the demographic and geographic make-up of the U.S., according to the research company.
A second-quarter 2021 estimate from MoffettNathanson Research said there were 84.5 million pay TV subscribers -- down 5% from the previous year. For the 2020-2021 TV season, Nielsen says there are 121 million total U.S. TV homes.