Analyst: North American Pay-TV Subs Dropping to 74 Million by 2026

The rise in over-the-top video consumption continues to undermine the pay-TV ecosystem. New data from Digital TV Research projects the number of pay-TV subscribers in Canada and the U.S. will fall by 43 million, from 116 million in 2010 to 74 million in 2026. The U.S. will lose 41 million subs, with Canada losing nearly 2 million.

The number of pay-TV subscribers plummeted by 27 million between 2010 and 2020, down by 6 million in both 2019 and 2020. Household pay-TV penetration will drop from 90.5% in 2010 to 53.6% by 2026. Revenue peaked in 2015 at $111 billion, falling by $49 billion to $62 billion in 2026.

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That said, the bloodletting appears to be over as subscriber levels decline, according to analyst Simon Murray.

“The worst of the cord-cutting is over,” Murray said. “Declines will be lower from 2021, falling by 16 million in total between 2020 and 2026.”

Murray contends “only” 5 million cable TV subscribers will be lost, while satellite TV declines by 7.5 million. Online TV will jettison 3.4 million subscribers.


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