April 14, 2017
The cord-cutting storm continues to gather momentum, and the forecast is bad news for traditional cable, satellite and telco TV operators — and their programming suppliers.
U.S. pay-TV providers lost around 1.9 million subscribers last year, according to the latest research from Kagan, a unit of S&P Global Market Intelligence. Meanwhile, “virtual” pay-TV services delivered over the internet like Dish’s Sling TV and AT&T’s DirecTV Now didn’t help stop the overall sector from shrinking in 2016.
Over-the-top TV providers gained about 900,000 subscribers last year, rising from approximately 600,000 at year-end 2015 to 1.5 million at the end of 2016, per Kagan estimates. The majority of those subscribers are attributed to Sling TV, Sony PlayStation Vue and DirecTV Now but encompass all OTT linear and on-demand services.
While the gains on the OTT front would appear to be good news for cable programmers, the problem is that many broadband-targeted TV packages are stripped-down “skinny bundles” that omit many of the channels included in traditional basic cable lineup.