U.S. Pay-TV households dipped below 100M in Q4, Nielsen says

U.S. pay-TV households dipped below the 100 million benchmark during the fourth quarter, according to Nielsen, falling to 99.44 million.

In its quarterly Total Audience Report, the research company said that there were just over 100 million U.S. pay-TV subscribers in the third quarter of 2015, and 100.93 million in the fourth quarter of 2014.

The numbers jibe with a comprehensive tally released by SNL Kagan nine days ago that said that U.S. operators had shed 538,000 video customers in the fourth quarter. SNL Kagan had the total U.S. residential pay-TV market at 96.7 million as of the fourth quarter. 

The metrics are being closely watched, with Wall Street having become very reactive to subscriber fluctuations for both programmers and operators alike. 

The pay-TV usage decline comes as U.S. SVOD penetration rose from 41 percent to 48 year-over-year, according to Nielsen. 

Live linear TV viewing declined 1.2 percent to 4 hours, 27 minutes a day, on average, which actually marked a deceleration. It dropped 5.6 percent year over year in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Time-shifted TV usage grew from an average of 32 minutes a day per viewer from 31 minutes a year ago.

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