US Pay TV Subscribers Decline 370k

The number of US households that subscribe to pay TV declined by a total of nearly 370,000 in the second quarter, according to IHS, with cablecos taking the biggest hit.

Broadband came to the rescue, however, with revenue-generating units (RGUs), or individual service subscriber contracts, increasing by 238,000 for the quarter.

IHS said the pay TV business is a mature one that is reaching the saturation point with 85% of American households subscribing.

It said the pay TV side of the business “is seeing some softness, but not the kind of steady or accelerating drops one would expect if — as some are suggesting — the American consumer is abandoning pay-TV en masse in favor of Internet-delivered video.” It said the threat of cord-cutting has been “overblown.”

It is the third time that the US pay-TV market has suffered a sequential quarterly decline, it said. There was a 13,000 increase in pay TV subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2010 and a 477,000 gain during the first quarter of this year. The result is that the total number of US pay-TV subscribers in the second quarter of 2011 was actually slightly higher than they were one year earlier, up by about 68,000 compared to the second quarter of 2010.

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