US cable delivered a stronger performance in the first quarter of this year, losing only 132,900 subscribers, but the number of homes without any form of pay TV subscription is expected to continue to grow over the next five years, according to research by IHS.
According to the research group, pay TV operators have improved their performance over previous quarters by embracing products aimed at non-pay households, including Dish’s Sling TV offering, customized packages from Verizon and Cablevision’s cord-cutter-targeted packages.
However, the number of US TV homes without a pay subscription is expected to grow from 18.6 million in 2008 to 26.7 million by 2019, according to IHS. Cord cutting is expected to bring the pay TV homes total down modestly, from 101 million to100.3 million by 2019.
“Cable’s strong performance in the first quarter signals that the maturation of the US pay TV business is nearly complete. Significant gains for telco IPTV players are coming to an end, as cable companies have lately done a better job reducing churn,’ said Erik Bannon, senior analyst.
“Growth in high-speed data and bundling are significant components of the cable industry’s growth strategy; however, better execution and technological developments are also playing significant roles in reducing subscriber losses.
“This decline does not signal the death of the pay TV business, as gains in average revenue per user are likely keep video revenue on a slow-growth trajectory. Even so, the number of pay TV households in the United States is forecast to remain fairly flat, as pay TV over-the-top television solutions become more attractive.”