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.
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.
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.
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.
A new report says that more than four-in-10 pay-TV subscribers say they’ll either cut the cord or shave their pay-TV bill by reducing services in the next year, a number that would be downright apocalyptic for the industry.
Customers using paid streaming video services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, or, skinny bundle offerings like SlingTV and PlayStation Vue, as well as programming apps like HBO Now are significantly more satisfied compared to pay-TV service providers, a new study says.
Nearly 6% of pay-TV subscribers say they are “very likely” cutting the cord this year, 50% more than were considering it a year ago, according to a study from researcher Frank N. Magid Associates. In its annual Magid Media Futures report, the industry researcher said that among Millennials, a recognized at-risk demographic in the pay-TV industry, that number was a whopping 9%.
Here’s another reason pay-TV operators are looking longingly at virtual MVPDs (V-MVPDs): Fully a quarter of all Americans who moved this past year no longer subscribe to a pay-TV service.
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.
Yet another report out today pointing to growing U.S. pay-TV subscriber losses as customers continue to bail on traditional television.
Leichtman Research Group (LRG) said the 11 biggest pay-TV providers in the U.S. lost about 665,000 subscribers in Q2, an increase of more than 22% compared to the 545,000 it lost in Q2 2015.
That brings losses over the past year to more than 705,000, 86% more than the previous year when the industry lost 380,000 customers.
It’s been a tough quarter for pay-TV operators and cable networks.
Every major U.S. operator – with the exception of DirecTV -- lost subscribers in the quarter, led by AT&T’s U-verse TV which lost 391,000 subs, its worst loss since Q1 when 381,000 customers bailed.