Traditional pay-TV – or flow TV – is fading as streaming services take over. In the US, the pay-TV industry has lost 18 million subscribers between 2014 and 2020, according to analyst firm Parks Associates.
Pay-TV in decline
The outlook does not look bright for traditional US pay-TV operators – television services delivered over an operator-controlled network to an operator-controlled device. The decline is accelerating.
- "New research from Parks Associates estimates that between 2014 and 2020, the US pay-TV industry lost over 18 million subscribers," the report concluded.
The only bright spot right now is growth in vMVPD, meaning services like Sling TV and YouTube TV that offer a classic bundle of TV channels over streaming to devices like Apple TV and Smart TVs. In 2020, vMVPDs accounted for 16% of the US pay-TV market.
Parks Associates expects the US pay-TV subscriber base to decline further to just 53 million US households by 2024, of which vMVPDs will represent 23 million.
Why is this happening? Eyeballs are shifting to streaming services like Netflix, Disney+ and Peacock.
The trend is most pronounced in the US but other mature Western markets are also starting to see pay-TV declines as local and international streaming services enter the market – soon you may not even need a tuner in your TV.
- Source: Parks Associates