Business Insider, Deutsche Bank

Which Cable Channels Have Lost the Most Subscribers in the Past Four Years?

Oct 6, 2016  •  Post A Comment

Cord cutting is hurting cable channels across the board, but the channel with the biggest loss of subscribers in the past four years is Weather Channel.

That’s the conclusion of a report by Business Insider, based on a study from Deutsche Bank showing subscriber losses from 2011 to 2015. While the Weather Channel loss is a little under 12 million subscribers, the next channels on the chart, Spike TV and ESPN, each lost just under 8 million.

Other channels making the top 10 in losses are MTV, ESPN2, VH1, Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite, POP (formerly TV Guide Network), Golf Channel and CMT.

The list includes a strong contingent of sports channels, along with what the report calls “inertia channels.”

“Earlier this year, analysts at Barclays argued that channels you watch when you’re feeling lazy, ‘inertia channels,’ will have a tough time competing moving forward,” the story reports. “Others, like BTIG’s Rich Greenfield, have questioned the value of ESPN.”

The report notes that an estimated 800,000 cable customers are expected to scrap their subscriptions in the next 12 months.


  1. How does the report break out or arrive at the conclusion that, just as an example, ESPN individually has lost X number of subscribers, or are they taking in to account everything being bundled together? I can understand saying that overall those channels are losing viewers for various reasons*, but with everything in some type of package or bundle I do not understand how they break out individual networks. I get ESPN, I do not watch ESPN, but I get ESPN because it is bundled with AMC, TCM, and others I do watch. If TCM went “off the air” and I cancelled the extras package because of it how would they know why or because of which channels I cancelled? Thanks.

    *Spike, for example, kills me with the number of commercials they run, so I do not watch Spike. But though not a viewer it still counts me as a subscriber because it is in the same bundle as AMC, TCM, ESPN, MTV, etc.,

  2. Very good question Scott. I don’t know the answer. Hopefully, someone who DOES will post.

  3. Who’s watching what within those bundles and packages are information that has been readily available since the digital format was introduced. The cable companies know what channels an individual subscriber is watching and how long that channel’s signal is being sent to your location. When your locations ID stops the requests they know. If that company is the internet provider they also know what websites you visit and how long you spend on those sites. So it doesn’t matter if a channel is in a bundle or package, your individual identifying information is what matters and captured when your device requests a channels signal or IP address and immediately put all of that in a database somewhere.
    As an example; Bill, Scott, I don’t know your last names or even if those are your real first names but your providers have it and can find that information, if they need to. They also have the identifying information on the device you are using to create theses posts. I hope I somewhat answered your questions.

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