The new data shows that traditional subscriptions to newspapers and magazines are falling away, but digital subscriptions are holding up despite tough economic times.
In August 2009, 81 percent of U.S. households subscribed to a television service and 76 percent paid for Internet subscriptions. Seventeen percent subscribed to an online music service or satellite radio; and 14 percent subscribed to online gaming subscription services.
The number of people subscribing to newspapers fell by 2 percentage points to reach 29 percent in August 2009. Forty-one percent of consumers subscribed to magazines this year, compared to 43 percent in 2008
Overall monthly per-capita entertainment-content subscription spending rose to $115, which is an increase of nearly 7 percent since last year.
"Despite concerns that the recession would cause consumers to reduce spending on entertainment subscription services, most forms of subscription entertainment are doing just fine," said Russ Crupnick, entertainment industry analyst for NPD. "Consumers are clearly looking to the value offered by entertainment subscriptions and like what they get for their money; plus, new technologies and products have helped bolster data plans and other newer kinds of subscription-based services."
NPD added that an influx of new smartphone owners has led to an increase in mobile data-plan subscriptions: 9 percent of U.S. consumers had mobile data subscriptions this year, versus just 6 percent last year. Fourteen percent of consumers subscribed to a home-video subscription service, like Netflix, this year, which is 2 percentage points higher than last year.