Earlier this year, a survey of pay-TV providers by the Pay-TV Innovation Forum 2017 found that the majority of pay-TV execs believed data and analytics will be critical to pay TV direction over the next five years.
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.
Skinny bundles from cable operators – and their OTT surrogates like Sling TV – are becoming more common as the companies try to look more attractive to consumers tired of paying for 200-plus channels when they really only watch a dozen or less. Survey after survey has shown that subscribers are hungry for not just a slimmed down offering but also for the subscription savings smaller bundles would engender.
Has cord cutting finally run its course among U.S. operators who have, over the past five years, watched millions of subscribers walk away from traditional pay-TV delivery? Are Millennials – and their following generation, Gen Edge – ready to join Gen X and Baby Boomers in tying themselves to arcane and expensive contracts that deliver bloated tiers of content that they have little interest in watching, let alone paying for?
OTT video viewers may be just about as fickle as traditional TV viewers, with roughly 19% churning some of their SVOD services during the past 12 months, which is down from 20% a year ago, according to a new report.
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.
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.
New research says worldwide set-top box shipments will increase slightly this year to 273 million from 269 million in 2015.
In addition to the growth of satellite units, cable shipments are also expected to increase modestly. DTT and IP STB demand remains relatively flat, according to researcher SNL Kagan in its annual look at the STB market.
Pay-TV service penetration in Latin America and the Caribbean has reached 57%, according to a new report, with Argentina having more than 87% or its TV homes subscribed to a service, the most in the region.
The report, from the Organización de Telecomunicaciones de Iberoamérica (OTI), found that Puerto Rico has the next highest pay-TV penetration in the region (68%), followed by Uruguay (61%), Mexico (57%) and Costa Rica (54%).
Brazil’s pay-TV subscriber numbers grew Q/Q during the third quarter by 47,000, the first gains the sector has shown in at least seven quarter. And, although those numbers represent a decrease of 558,000 (almost 3%) from a year ago, the slight upward tick is, hopefully, a sign of things to come.
Brazil’s 18.96 million pay-TV subscribers makes it the second-largest in Latin America, behind only Mexico.
Revenues for the Mexican pay-TV industry were up nearly 23% year-over-year in Q3, increasing to $953 million. Much of that growth is attributable to continued subscriber growth in the country as operators bundle services to decrease churn and increase customer loyalty.
But pay-TV operators are also rolling out inexpensive content packages and, perhaps more importantly, making it easy to access video-on-demand services and OTT.
Pay-TV subscription declines continued at a record pace, with the industry losing an estimated 430,000 subscribers in the third quarter, bring the loss for the first 9 months of the year to 1.3 million, the most ever for the first nine months of the year.
Research firm SNL Kagan said the Q3 loss was higher than a year ago, with the telco segment hit the hardest, fueled by AT&T’s continued move to satellite delivery via DirecTV from its legacy U-verse IPTV product.