Contrary to suggestions of a slow-down, the number of Americans severing their ties to cable and satellite TV soared to the largest number ever during the third quarter this year.
For the first time satellite and cable TV providers lost more than a million subscribers from July through September this year. To be exact, they lost 1.1 million customers. Which is a lot of of monthly fees gone poof!
Dish TV lost 367,000 satellite subscriber in the third quarter compared to gaining 16,000 in the previous third quarter. It added only 26,000 new ones to its Sling service this time.
In a financial report AT&T said DirecTV lost 359,600 satellite subscribers during the quarter, while adding only 49,000 new subscribers to DirecTV Now, its streaming TV service.
Of course, according to industry reports, the services still have large customer bases. AT&T has 25.15 million pay-TV customers; DirecTV, 19.6 million; U-Verse, 3.7 million; and DirecTV Now, 1.86 million.
Overall, cable TV lost 293,000 customers while satellite TV lost 726,000.
“Cord cutting does not appear to be slowing at all,” according to MoffetNathanson, a media and telecommunications research firm.
In fact, the total proportion of American homes with some form of pay TV service has also declined. Approximately 78 percent of American households with TV now pay subscription fees to some form of pay-TV service. But that’s down ten points from 86 percent just five years ago.
This year, eMarketer estimates, some 186.7 million American adults are watching traditional pay TV. That’s down 3.8% from 2017.
Can you guess why the flight from pay TV? Here’s a hint: $$$. The average pay-TV bill last year 2017 was $100.98 per month. That’s almost a six percent compound annual growth rate since 2000.
Deloitte’s 2018 Digital Media Trends Survey found that almost three-out-of-four pay TV subscribers felt they did not get good value for their money.
The price revolt is a grand opportunity for the newer, cheaper “virtual” pay-TV entrants. Experts estimate their income will grow to $2.82 billion this year and $7.77 billion by 2022. The average revenue from those subscribers is about one-third of traditional cable TV, right around $37 currently.
Enjoy it while you can, folks, as the newcomer services fight to attract the cable-cutters. Because once established, you know the new services will begin increasing their monthly fees.