Accelerating pay-TV subscriber losses point to OTT’s continued adoption

By Jim O'Neill on Aug 30 2016 at 6:15 AM
Accelerating pay-TV subscriber losses point to OTT’s continued adoption

Nielsen is using updated census numbers to apply a balm to the sting of subscriber defections for many cable networks like ESPN, but industry analyst firm SNL Kagan has no lotion that will sooth the sting of what it says was the worst quarterly losses ever for the U.S. pay-TV industry.

The firm says more than 812,000 subscribers cut the cord to pay TV, including 298,000 cable subs, 26,000 satellite TV subs and a whopping 488,000 subscribers to telco pay-TV services, which has lost more than 1 million subs since the middle of last year. Last year in Q2, total pay-TV losses tallied 291,000.

Kagan said that in the past 12 months, pay-TV providers have lost more than 1.4 million subscribers.

“It is a bit of an acceleration and the biggest quarterly loss that we’ve seen,” Ian Olgeirson, an analyst with SNL Kagan, said. “We are seeing a gradual increase in the decline rate.”

Online video services are playing an increasing role in the exodus, especially among Millennials who are watching more video on mobile devices than ever.

Dish Network has been hit hard by subscriber losses, but SNL Kagan believes its OTT service, Sling TV, now has as many as 764,000 subscribers. CBS chief Les Moonves, meanwhile, said its OTT services, CBS All Access and Showtime, each have more than 1 million subscribers.

Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Instant Video all have contributed to the losses, as have an increasing number of smaller content providers that are going direct to consumer.

A study from J.D. Power last week found that consumer satisfaction with OTT providers was substantially higher than for pay-TV providers, yet another reason subscribers are leaving traditional pay-TV services.

Stay tuned.

Follow me on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn

Posted in: 


SVOD, Pay TV, Millennials, Cord Cutting
Q2 likely to be miserable as operators brace for big customer losses; OTT anyone?
Jul 24 2017 3:00 PM

Could second quarter pay-TV subscriber losses in the United States top 1 million, the highest figure ever? In a word, yes.

The second quarter routinely is a weak one for operators and in the current environment – remember the first quarter saw more than 800,000 subscribers cut the cord, according to Kagan – reaching one million may be an easy task.

Millennials turn back on Esquire Network; NBCUniversal, Hearst look to OTT
Millennials, Cord Cutting, Pay TV
Millennials turn back on Esquire Network; NBCUniversal, Hearst look to OTT
Jan 18 2017 4:15 PM

Could this be the start of the Great Cable Channel Recession? Maybe. Esquire Network, the joint venture between NBCUniversal and Hearst that began in 2013, today announced that it’s going to the promised land – OTT – later this year.

The channel was the victim of the continued erosion of the pay-TV audience, especially male Millennials, the Esquire Network’s primary audience.

Is live TV dying? No, but it’s not as healthy as it once was
Pay TV, Cord Cutting, SVOD
Is live TV dying? No, but it’s not as healthy as it once was
Jan 04 2017 3:15 PM

Viewing time of live TV continued to decline in Q3, albeit by only a minute in from a year ago, as viewers increasingly tune in to time-shifted TV and online video.

Nielsen said live TV viewing per day slipped to four hours and six minutes in the third quarter, a minute less than in Q3 2015, and a much smaller decrease than the six-minute drop between Q3 2014 and Q3 2015.

The extra minute went to DVR viewing, which increased to 29 minutes from 28 minutes.

Operators, Cord Cutting
In the U.S., service providers face triple cord-cutting threat
Dec 15 2016 11:30 AM

U.S. operators – especially telcos – are facing a triple cord-cutting threat as subscribers are dropping their landlines, traditional pay-TV subscriptions and, increasingly, broadband plans, as consumers look to mobile as their one-source supplier.

Researcher Ovum’s World Broadband Information Service says the trend is “looming” over U.S. operators, but adds that other regions also are potentially facing disruption on all three fronts.