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Cord Cutting Not as Bad as Feared

Jul 28, 2017  •  Post A Comment

As results come in for the second quarter, a tally of subscriber losses in the pay-TV sector reveals that cord cutting during the period was not as severe as analysts predicted.

“So far, with Comcast, AT&T, Charter Communications, Verizon and Altice USA reporting second-quarter earnings, the linear pay-TV sector has reported losses of 527,000 users,” Fierce Cable reports. “Analysts had pegged the second-quarter attrition to exceed 1 million, with Wells Fargo’s Marci Ryvicker suggesting it could go as high as 1.28 million.”

Figures for Dish Network are among those still to come in, with Dish’s potential losses as high as 370,000 users. The satellite provider will report earnings on Aug. 3.

“Midsized operators Mediacom and Cable One, as well as IPTV provider Frontier Communications, are also still due to report, while No. 3 cable company Cox Communications is privately held,” Fierce Cable notes. “Collectively, the 10 aforementioned companies account for 95% of linear pay-TV subscriptions in the U.S. These companies saw their linear video platforms lose around 758,000 users in the first quarter, according to Leichtman Research, which includes estimates for privately held Cox.”

Second-quarter losses are on track to easily surpass those in the first quarter, but would probably need an unusually grim report from Dish to hit the 1 million mark.

Meanwhile, gains in MVPD continue to partially offset the losses, with a key example being AT&T’s reported addition of 152,000 DirecTV Now subscribers in Q2. But AT&T was down 195,000 U-verse TV customers and 156,000 DirecTV satellite subscribers in Q2, about on par with forecasts.

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