Average Pay-TV Bill Is Up 3% From Last Year To $73.35 Monthly: Leichtman

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Multichannel video subscribers in the U.S. pay a mean average of $73.35 per month, up 3% from last year, while the 87% of households nationwide that subscribe to cable, satellite or telco TV is leveling off, according to a consumer survey fielded this spring by Leichtman Research Group.

High-income consumers are most likely to subscribe to a multichannel video service. Just 8% with annual household incomes over $75,000 do not subscribe to a multichannel video service, compared with 14% with incomes of $30,000 to $75,000 and 20% with incomes under $30,000.

"The overall percentage of U.S. households subscribing to a multichannel video service is as high as it has ever been, but it is leveling off," LRG president Bruce Leichtman said, noting that pay-TV penetration was 80% in 2004.

Meanwhile, LRG said the percentage of people who dropped pay-TV service in the past 12 months -- for any reason -- is "fairly consistent" with previous years. About 9% of multichannel video subscribers with household incomes under $30,000 said they're likely to cancel TV service in the next six months compared with 2% of those with incomes over $50,000.

LRG also found that 12% of non-subscribers paid to subscribe to a TV service in the past year. Among current subscribers, 9% of cable TV customers, 8% of satellite TV customers and 6% of telco TV customers are likely to switch from their current provider in the next six months.

The LRG report, "Cable, DBS & Telcos: Competing for Customers 2011," is based on a telephone survey of 1,500 adults (18 and older) in continental U.S. conducted in April and May 2011. The overall sample has a statistical margin of error of 2.5%, according to LRG.