Americans are paying for a lot of channels they don't watch

There’s only so much television you can watch.

In a report released Thursday, Citi analysts Jason Bazinet, Thomas Singlehurst, Michael Rollings, Mark May, and Catherine O’Neill shared this chart of number of cable channels received (light blue) by cable subscribers and the number of channels actually viewed (dark blue).

“[B]ack in 1994, US consumers watched about 25% of the channels they could receive,” they wrote. “By 2013, there were nearly 200 channels, but the average household watched just 17 channels.”

“In effect, US consumers are paying for a lot of channels they don’t watch.”

And make no mistake: that cable bill you’re paying is a lot costlier than it used to be.

“[T]hat suggests cable networks might be overearning,” the analysts said.

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