×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cord-Cutting No Longer an ‘Urban Myth’: Pay TV Operators Drop 316,000 Subs in Past Year

Industry faces steeper losses even as housing market shows signs of recovery, according to Wall Street analyst Craig Moffett

The number of Americans jettisoning pay TV is still fairly small — but data clearly shows that cord-cutting is picking up the pace as the cost of cable and satellite TV service continues to climb skyward.

The U.S. pay TV sector as a whole lost 316,000 subscribers for the 12-month period ending in June, even as the housing market shows signs of recovering, Moffett Research analyst Craig Moffett wrote in a research report Tuesday.

“Cord cutting used to be an urban myth.  It isn’t anymore,” Moffett Research analyst Craig Moffett wrote in a research report Tuesday. “No, the numbers aren’t huge, but they are statistically significant.”

The latest figures showing the industry decline — which has hit cable operators including Comcast and Time Warner Cable the hardest — comes after pay-TV providers shrank subscriber rolls 80,000 on a year-to-year basis in the first quarter of 2013, according to an analysis by Leichtman Research Group.

SEE ALSO: Cord-Cutting: At Last, Hard Evidence It’s Really Happening

The second quarter is seasonally weak for pay TV, given that colleges shut down and “snow birds head north,” Moffett noted. But for the 12 months ending June 30, pay TV subscribership fell about 0.3% whereas subscribership rose 330,000 (up 0.3%) for the 12-month period ending Q2 2012, according to Moffett, a longtime industry analyst who for years has warned about the affordability problem of pay TV services.

In the face of customer losses, cable and satellite TV operators say they’re focusing on higher-value subscribers, willing to sacrifice bargain-hunting consumers who at satisfied with over-the-top video options like Netflix and free broadcast TV.

In the second quarter, cable operators lost a cumulative 591,000 video subscribers in the second quarter, which actually was better than the 606,000 sequential decline in Q2 2012. Telephone companies AT&T and Verizon grew in the most recent period — adding 231,000 and 140,000 video subs, respectively — while both satcasters lost ground (DirecTV dropped 84,000 U.S. video customers in the period, and Dish Network lost 78,000).

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Barron HiltonBarron Hilton 1990

    Famed Hotelier Barron Hilton Dies at 91

    Barron Hilton, a famed hotelier who helped expand the Hilton Hotels empire and a founding owner of the Chargers NFL football team, has died, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation announced. He was 91. “Today the world of hospitality mourns for one of the greats. Barron Hilton was an incredible family man, business leader and philanthropist. [...]

  • Patrick Whitesell and Ari Emanuel WME

    Endeavor Targets Sept. 27 for Stock Debut, IPO Video Tells Company's Origin Story

    After years of preparation, Endeavor is set to make its formal Wall Street debut on Sept. 27, when its stock will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Endeavor has targeted Sept. 26 for the final pricing of its shares. The stock will trade publicly the following day. Earlier this week, Endeavor said its [...]

  • Netflix - Apple TV

    Netflix Stock Drops After CEO Acknowledges 'Tough Competition' Coming From Disney, Apple

    Netflix shares fell as much as 7% Friday to a nine-month low, coming after CEO Reed Hastings commented that the November launches of Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus will introduce a “whole new world” of competition. Hastings, speaking at the Royal Television Society conference Friday in Cambridge, England, said, “While we’ve been competing with [...]

  • Charlie Rose Sexual Harassment

    Charlie Rose Sued for Sexual Harassment by Longtime Makeup Artist

    A makeup artist who worked for Charlie Rose for 22 years has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit, accusing the former CBS and PBS host of years of unlawful behavior toward female employees. Gina Riggi alleges that Rose was verbally abusive with her and would often make derogatory comments about her weight. She also alleges that [...]

  • Rob Stringer

    Sony Music Chief Rob Stringer on Sustaining Growth and Recovering From the 'Dark Times'

    The Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference, now in its 28th year, gives top executives at major companies the opportunity to make their case to investors — and the Goldman analysts the opportunity to keep things on the up and up. While the analysts don’t necessarily grill the executives, they don’t lob softball questions either. That was [...]

  • Frank Grillo'Avengers: Endgame' Film Premiere, Arrivals,

    Matt Phelps Tapped as President of Joe Carnahan, Frank Grillo's Warparty

    Frank Grillo and Joe Carnahan’s Warparty productikon banner has appointed Matt Phelps president of the company. Phelps will head the Los Angeles office and be responsible for overseeing all film and television projects. “We searched long and hard to find the right fit for Warparty and felt that Matt embodied everything that we were looking [...]

  • Jack Gilardi, Longtime ICM Partners Agent,

    Jack Gilardi, Longtime ICM Partners Agent, Dies at 88

    Jack Gilardi, a longtime ICM Partners agent who represented such stars as Burt Reynolds, Sylvester Stallone, Jerry Lewis, Charlton Heston and Shirley MacLaine, died Thursday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 88. Gilardi was known for his gentlemanly style, love of the Los Angeles Dodgers and his skill at representing top actors. He [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content