MoffettNathanson principal and senior analyst Craig Moffett estimates that about 18 million homes in the United States either have never had pay TV service or have cut the cord, with as many as 3.1 million of those homes added in the last four years. And according to MoffettNathanson’s recent report: The Poverty Problem: Six Years On, the number of homes that will do without a pay TV subscription could grow at an even faster rate in the future.
Moffett has tackled the issue of declining incomes and their impact on the pay TV universe before in his detailed 2008 report, The Poverty Problem, where the analyst warned that a sharp decline in discretionary income – money available to homes after payouts for food, shelter, healthcare and transportation – would lead poorer homes to disconnect their pay TV subscriptions. In revisiting the report six years later, Moffett wrote that he was proven both right and wrong – pay TV growth has been flat since 2009 while broadband penetration rates have climbed even as prices have risen. At the same time, discretionary income has fallen in the past six years to about — $583 per month from $0 for the poorest homes, while pay TV subscriptions have remained relatively steady.
But Moffett warned that a recent uptick in new household formation, coupled with an aging Baby Boomer population and an emerging Millennial demographic that has been raised on online, over-the-top and subscription video on demand services, could bode even worse for pay TV.