×
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).

More TV

  • A Man Walks Into the Cnn

    CNN Seeks 'Both Sides' Balance but Spurs Criticism From All Sides (Analysis)

    In a time when news viewers are splintering around partisan leanings, CNN is proving to be a uniter, not a divider; people from both sides of the political aisle are eager to criticize its business decisions and news coverage. The one-time plain vanilla network can’t win for losing as it tries to achieve an elusive [...]

  • Karl Lagerfeld'Lagerfeld Confidential' Photocall at the

    Karl Lagerfeld Remembered at Costume Designers Guild Awards

    The death of fashion and costume designer Karl Lagerfeld cast somewhat of a shadow over the usually jubilant Costume Designers Guild Awards — the only award show where clothes literally steal the spotlight away from actors — which was held at the Beverly Hilton on Tuesday night. Here it was obvious that Lagerfeld’s impact on [...]

  • Ramon Rodriguez

    NBC Drama Pilot 'Prism' Adds Ramon Rodriguez

    Ramon Rodriguez has joined the NBC legal drama pilot “Prism” in a lead role, Variety has learned. “Prism” is an exploration of a murder trial in which every episode is told through the perspective of a different key person involved. Each new version of the facts ratchets up the mystery and the suspense, calling into question [...]

  • Rob Lowe TCA

    Rob Lowe Talks About Life in Boston (England) and His New British Cop Show 'Wild Bill'

    Before shooting his new series “Wild Bill” for Britain’s ITV, Rob Lowe had no idea there was a Boston in England – which the U.S. city in Massachusetts is actually named after. “Wild Bill” is currently in production in the original Boston, in eastern England, and Lowe, appropriately enough, plays a fish out of water [...]

  • ABC-Oscar-Game

    ABC to Launch Oscars Live Play-Along Game With $50,000 Grand Prize

    ABC is hoping to drive viewers to its host-less telecast of the 91st Academy Awards on Sunday by dangling the promise of cold, hard cash to one lucky winner. The broadcaster is launching “The Official Oscar Game,” a live game that will let viewers play along in real time during the awards presentation. The game’s [...]

  • Desus and Mero

    Desus & Mero Are Doing Late-Night Their Own Way

    It wasn’t too long ago that Desus Nice and The Kid Mero were living their lives as Daniel Baker and Joel Martinez, two bored Bronx guys throwing jokes on Twitter about their frustrating jobs. But six years after joining forces, they’re poised to crash the overwhelmingly monochrome late-night talk-show party with their wicked wit, supreme [...]

  • Norah O'Donnell

    CBS Mulls Changes to 'CBS Evening News,' Eyes Norah O'Donnell for Anchor Slot (EXCLUSIVE)

    CBS News is considering making significant changes to its flagship “CBS Evening News,” according to four people with knowledge of the talks, part of a top-down look at the news division by incoming president Susan Zirinsky. Executives are considering putting “CBS This Morning” anchor Norah O’Donnell in the lead role of its evening-news broadcast, these [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content