Study: Broadband TV Households Are Shedding Legacy Pay-TV Services


The percentage of U.S. broadband households that aren’t subscribing to a “Legacy Pay-TV (LPTV)” service has more than doubled in the past five years.

That’s the key takeaway from new research conducted by The Diffusion Group. 

The study, conducted by TDG co-founder and Research Director Michael Greeson, found that in 2011, 9% of the 85 million U.S. broadband households qualified as those who had “zero” use of TV services from cable, satellite, or telecommunications providers.

By the end of 2016, the number of U.S. broadband households topped 100 million, with 22% qualifying as Cord Nevers, Advanced Television reports.

This means that the number of broadband households living without Legacy Pay-TV has grown from just under 8 million in 2011 to 22 million by Dec. 31, 2016.

“Wall Street and the media are myopically focused on the quarterly drip of Legacy Pay-TV subscribers, which unfortunately overlooks a larger and more dangerous trend,” Greeson said. “As TDG noted long ago, where broadband (and broadband video) goes, Legacy Pay-TV subscriptions will increasingly decline. This is indeed what has transpired.”

Greeson added that the level of pay-TV subscriber disruption has been largely overlooked.

As a result, a large majority of MVPDs are being forced to rely on “skinny bundles” — such as DirecTV Now — to maintain their customer relationships.

Greeson does point to one exception to this scenario: Comcast, which puts its dollars into IP-enabled set-top boxes and features at an early development stage.