The giants of pay-TV — Comcast, Dish, DirecTV (now owned by AT&T) among them — should be concerned now that the latest “cord-cutter” tally as been released.
Cable/satellite companies shed more than 658,000 subscribers during the second quarter of 2015, according to IHS’ “State of the U.S. Pay TV Operator” report.
Cable companies have been losing subscribers for some time, as streaming services become more popular such as Netflix, Hulu and a slew of new product offerings. However, IHS says it is the first time that non-cable pay-TV operators, meaning satellite and streaming services, also known as Internet-protocol television (IPTV), also had a net loss of subscribers or slower growth.
Dish lost twice as many subscribers as DirecTV, if you subtract the subscribers from Sling TV —- Dish’s Internet streaming TV service -— from Dish’s numbers. However, DirecTV does have an advantage with a subscriber surge once the NFL season starts because of its exclusive on the NFL Sunday Ticket package.
Satellite operators and cable company subscriptions declined less than 1 percent year over year by the end of the second quarter.
“Until the fourth quarter of 2014, IPTV had been the only pay TV category to experience growth; however, by Q2 of this year, IPTV’s significant forward momentum had been lost,” said Erik Brannon, principal analyst of television media for IHS Technology.
Cable operators showed a very slight improvement in Q2 2015 over Q2 2014, as the effective bundling of faster-than-IPTV broadband and video gave cable TV companies a small local advantage over IPTV, writes IHS.
“In much the same way that cable companies had to make room for satellite and IPTV operators, the maturity of IPTV is a signal that U.S. pay TV companies must now strike a balance with over-the-top TV offerings,” Brannon said.