Cable Posts Its Biggest Subscriber Loss Ever

August 17, 2016

The cable industry saw its subscriber count take a big hit in Q2.

After two quarters in which it seemed like cord-cutting had stabilized, the pay television industry saw its biggest ever quarterly loss in the second quarter.

But past history has shown that Q2 produces big losses that the industry somewhat offsets in later quarters. Of course, past results are not always indicative of what will happen in the future and it’s possible that this may finally be the quarter where cord-cutting takes hold.

During the period, the 11 largest pay-TV providers in the United States (representing about 95% of the market) lost about 665,000 net video subscribers, according to numbers compiled by Leichtman Research Group (LRG). That compares to a loss of about 545,000 subscribers during the same period in 2015.

The numbers are even worse when you consider that the top pay-TV providers account for 93.75 million subscribers, but 710,000 of that total is people who have switched to DISH Network’s lower-cost Sling TV service. Those people are semi-cord-cutters, who happen to be buying a skinny bundle of television channels from a traditional provider.

“The top pay-TV providers lost about 665,000 subscribers in the traditionally weak second quarter, with net losses in 2Q 2016 surpassing the previous quarterly low set in last year’s second quarter,”said LRG President Bruce Leichtman.”Over the past year, the top pay-TV providers (including DISH’s Sling TV) lost about 705,000 subscribers — compared to a loss of about 380,000 over the prior year.”

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It’s time the cable industry woke up and transitioned into OTT video! If you’re thinking of launching a streaming service, make sure you read our guide – The Definitive OTT Video Launch Checklist.